Jennifer Aniston, Serena Williams Launch Invisible Universe Social Media Characters

Jennifer Aniston, Serena Williams Launch Invisible Universe Social Media Characters


Aniston’s very human cartoon dog Clydeo joins Williams’ hapless toddler Qai Qai

Qai Qai and Clydeo/Invisible Universe

Jennifer Aniston’s animated puppy Clydeo is the latest animated character to be launched by celebrity-backed social media entertainment technology company Invisible Universe Inc., the company announced on Monday.

Aniston’s fluffy pooch joins Serena Williams’ animated baby girl Qai Qai — who was announced late last week — as the latest in the Invisible Universe stable. The character, inspired by Williams’ daughter’s doll of the same name, is moving from social media to the printed page: In partnership with Invisible Universe, Williams will pen a children’s book, “The Adventures of Qai Qai,” based on the diminutive Instagram and TikTok star.

Aniston’s Clydeo is an animated dog, who is a cook and aspiring food blogger, living in Aniston’s Los Angeles home. The character, more human than canine (he hates walks), bears a resemblance to Aniston’s real-life dog Clyde.

“It was so much fun bringing my newest family member, Clydeo, to life. Developing an animated character and coming up with the storyline is a first for me, but I am excited for everyone to meet him!” Aniston said in a statement.

Founded in late August by former Snap executive John Brennan, Invisible Universe was launched with $8 million in funding from Initialized Capital and Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six fund, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Cassius Family, and former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff. Aniston and Williams, who is married to Ohanian, are also among the company’s initial investors.

With the mission of creating what the company calls “the next 100-year animated franchise,” Invisible Universe develops and debuts original cartoon character IP on social media in partnership with high-profile celebrities, influencers and brands. Company CEO Tricia Biggio, a former senior VP of unscripted television at MGM, has trumpeted the startup as “the Pixar of the Internet.” The company has hubs in L.A., New York and São Paulo, Brazil. So far, the social media characters have all been developed based in some way on the real lives of the celebrity partners.

Though the launch of Invisible Universe was officially announced on Aug. 23, Biggio told TheWrap that the company had been in development for about two years. Qai Qai, she said, was the first Invisible Universe franchise. “We refer to her as our Mickey Mouse,” Biggio joked.

A post shared by Qai Qai (@realqaiqai)

Brennan got to know Williams and her husband during Brennan’s stint running sports partnerships at Snap. The relationship began about the same time the famous couple gave their daughter a baby doll that Serena’s nephew dubbed Qai Qai, The family started posting social media photos of Qai Qai, usually in unfortunate situations, like “face down in a sandbox or getting dragged by her ankle” or, as in the Instagram post above, with her leg in a cast. Brennan had the idea to tap a 3D animator to bring Qai Qai to life. The animated character now has 3.6 million followers across social media platforms.

Biggio said the company hopes that developing characters via social media can lead those characters to traditional media franchises: “A big part of our model and what we’re trying to prove here at Invisible Universe is that social media certainly can and will be used to birth new IP and hopefully the next generation’s favorite entertainment franchises. The Qai Qai children’s book that was announced is a great proof point for us as a company that the IP having social as its center of gravity can start to extend to other places.”

Biggio added, “Our vision is really to be Pixar of the Internet, and we think that we can introduce indelible character IP that then goes on to live in publishing, or on the shelves of your Target and Walmart, or on your streamers either in a movie or a series. So we feel like the monetization and the extensions of the franchises are pretty endless.”

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