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Social media animation studio Invisible Universe raises $12M

Aug 11, 2022
Illustration of a collage of circles made of money forming a decentralized web.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Invisible Universe, an internet-based animation studio, raised $12 million in Series A funding, the company's CEO Tricia Biggio tells Axios.

Why it matters: There's been a surge in content startups looking to build the next generation of IP using web3 and challenging Hollywood's studio model.

Details: Biggio argues the community-based approach that is the central tenet of web3 allows the company to build IP with franchise potential faster.

  • "Affinity, as it turns out, is a really hard thing to build. And so if you can build it faster and less expensively than the way that the traditional models have always done it, we think that is a pretty disruptive way to do it," Biggio says.
  • Biggio, a former Viacom and MGM executive who worked in the reality TV space, is the latest Hollywood veteran to move into web3.
  • The round was led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Katelin Holloway's Seven Seven Six.
  • Additional investors included Cosmic Venture Partners, Dapper Labs, Franklin Templeton, Gaingels, Initialized Capital, Schusterman Family Investments, Wheelhouse and Spencer Rascoff's 75 & Sunny.
  • Invisible Universe's cap table includes Serena Williams and Jennifer Aniston along with TCG, CASSIUS, and Will Smith's Dreamers VC.

Of note: The company said it will use the funds to launch new IP and expand to new platforms, as well as continue to monetize its existing IP.

Catch up quick: Williams helped to create Invisible Universe's most popular character Qai Qai, based on Williams and Ohanian's daughter's real-life doll after it become a popular social media meme.

  • Qai Qai is among a slew of platform-agnostic digital characters that Invisible Universe created with partners including Charli and Dixie D'Amelio, and Aniston.
  • Invisible Universe partnered with kid-safe social network Zigazoo on an NFT drop, launched "Qai Qai's Nursery Rhyme Remix" on YouTube, and will release of "The Adventures of Qai Qai," Williams' first-ever children's book, in September.
  • "My vision is that you're going to see our characters in Roblox, you're going to see them on your Target shelves, and you're going to have them in your MetaMask wallet," Biggio says.

What's next: Invisible Universe launches the web series "The R3al Metaverse" on Aug. 30.

  • The series features animated versions of popular NFTs like Bored Ape, Cool Cat and World of Women "living" in and interacting with the real world in a parody of reality shows like "The Real World" and "Big Brother."
  • "We shot it in a practical mansion in LA. And we use the actors who are actually the voice actors for each of the characters. They came and acted it all out and shot all 30 episodes," Biggio says.
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