‘Pixar of the Internet’ Invisible Universe Raises $12M

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

‘Pixar of the Internet’ Invisible Universe Raises $12M
Photo courtesy of Invisible Universe

Invisible Universe, a self-described “Pixar of the internet,” has raised $12 million in Series A funding to build out its animated franchises.

Seven Seven Six, the venture capital firm of Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, led the fundraising round. Cosmic Venture Partners, Dapper Labs and Spencer Rascoff’s 75 & Sunny participated in the raise, too. (Disclosure: Rascoff is co-founder and executive chairman of dot.LA.)

L.A.-based Invisible Universe partners with high-profile celebrities to create original animated characters that live on social media. Examples include Squeaky & Roy—the apparent long-lost toys of TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio—as well as Qai Qai, a living doll that belongs to tennis legend Serena Williams’ daughter (Williams is married to Ohanian).


The animation studio posts videos of its characters on social platforms like TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Invisible Universe said it has more than 8.5 million followers across its accounts and an engagement rate above 10%.

By distributing intellectual property (IP) on social media, Invisible Universe aims to popularize its franchises on free platforms before commercializing them. The approach also allows the startup to share new content more frequently, instead of making fans wait months or years between new seasons or film installments, CEO Tricia Biggio told dot.LA.

When Invisible Universe does pitch its IP to streamers or toy companies, the startup can point to established fan bases to make its case, she said. After Qai Qai became a hit online, for example, the studio used the character’s IP to sell NFTs and develop a forthcoming children’s book authored by Williams, called “The Adventures of Qai Qai.” Invisible Universe is in the midst of shopping a series to streamers, but hasn’t closed a deal yet, she said.

“Most interestingly, we have tested the creative,” Biggio said. “I think for a studio or publisher—anyone that's agreeing to make an investment in your IP—for them to know that you've taken the time to test it and you've really built affinity through that, I think is a really powerful value proposition.”

Invisible Universe plans to use the fresh funds to launch more animated IP, expand to new platforms and further monetize its existing franchises. The company is also interested in delving into the world of Web3, a decentralized vision for the internet based on blockchain technology. This fall, Invisible Universe will launch a parody reality series on social media dubbed “The R3al Metaverse,” using characters based on popular NFT collections. The startup bought three NFTs and secured licenses for two more that fit well with the story, Biggio previously told dot.LA.

Seven Seven Six Co-founder Katelin Holloway, a former Reddit exec, likened Invisible Universe to Disney’s Pixar, where she served as a script supervisor. Holloway, an Invisible Universe board member, noted that popular IP is driving growth, audience retention and franchise expansions for entertainment companies.

“I saw the Pixar magic up close,” she said in a statement. “And [Invisible Universe] is building the same kind of unforgettable IP with an innovative approach that reduces both time and capital while embracing audience feedback.”

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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