The “Friends” and “Morning Show” star has also participated with a number of other industry boldface names as an investor in the company, which just closed a $12 million Series A fundraising round. The capital campaign for the content banner headed by Tricia Biggio was led by Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, the private investment firm he co-founded with former Pixar and Reddit executive Katelin Holloway.
Invisible Universe is already in business with tennis superstar Serena Williams, who is married to Ohanian. The company is developing an animated character franchise based on Qai Qai, the doll embraced by the couple’s daughter, Olympia Ohanian, who will turn 5 on Sept. 1.
Prominent digital media investors who joined Aniston in investing in Invisible Universe include NFT heavyweights Dapper Labs, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Cosmic Venture Partners, Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse and Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff’s 75 and Sunny.
Aniston was game to partner with Invisible Universe because the company offered her the chance to have a strong hand in the development of the character. Clydeo is based on Aniston’s gray Schnauzer mix. Invisible Universe describes the toon pooch as “a dog living in Aniston’s Los Angeles house but he’s no ordinary dog. He fancies himself more human, loves to cook, and is less of a food snob as he is a food enthusiast.” He already has his own TikTok and Instagram accounts.
“It’s just been so much fun to develop Clydeo with the Invisible Universe team, inspired by my own dog Clyde, who is such a character himself and has been making me and my friends laugh for almost 10 years now,” Aniston told Variety. “I am so happy his true potential has finally been tapped into for the whole world to enjoy. So much more fun is yet to come!”
Clydeo is designed to join a menagerie of Invisible Universe characters who will exist in a range of media. Content development will be funded in part by NFT sales, giving owners a digital chit to influence the storylines and other aspects of the show.
The plans for Clydeo are an example of Biggio’s “internet-first” approach to incubating properties with content sprinkled out on social media, YouTube, Discord, Twitch and other social-friendly streaming hubs. Once a character or property gains traction, Biggio’s team tries to keep their ear to the ground to gain insights from fans.
“We are out to build the Pixar of the internet,” Biggio, who previously worked as a content executive for Snap and for MGM Television, told Variety. “We are out to incubate the next generation’s IP doing it in an internet-first way by growing and building community on platforms where people are spending more of their time. We’re trying to reverse-engineer the way IP is born by growing it on social first.”
TikTok, Instagram and Twitter are Invisible Universe’s biggest showcase platforms. The company is expanding on YouTube and has produced a series of 1- to 2-minute shorts featuring Clydeo and other characters, including Qai Qai. In September, Serena Williams will publish her first children’s book, “The Adventures of Qai Qai,” and Invisible Universe is already marketing NFTs.
Invisible Universe is also developing a property that is a spoof of reality TV shows. “The R3al Metaverse” features a motley group of characters living together in a house, with the character archtypes drawn from popular NFT franchises including Bored Ape Yacht Club, World of Women, Doodles, Cool Cats and Robotos.
“We’re seeing the power of can’t-live-without-it-IP and how it’s driving the growth and retention of audiences regardless of the platform and igniting potential for franchise expansions,” said Holloway, who is a board member of Invisible Universe. “I saw the Pixar magic up close, and this company is building the same kind of unforgettable IP with an innovative approach that reduces both time and capital while embracing audience feedback.”