Utopic Studio

Idea: An indie startup studio to research, develop, and commercialize my ideas.

  • Indie = 100% Ownership
    • I’m prioritizing independence in this phase of my career.
    • Individual startups in my portfolio can and will raise outside capital when they’re ready to be independent.
      • But Utopic LLC, the original parent company, will always stay 100% mine.
  • Startup = Anything I Want to Create
    • Any funding: Bootstrapped → VC/PE
    • Any entity: For-profit or nonprofit; C-Corp, LLC, or DAO
    • Any offering: Services → Products
    • Any sector: Science, Software, Media, Manufacturing, Healthcare, etc.
  • Studio = Parallel Entrepreneurship
    • The Lab: Decentralized research, strategy, and operations.
    • The Factory: Centralized development, marketing, legal, finance.

Focus: Science + technology products and services sold online.

  • Rapidly launch new products and services that I know need to exist.
  • Use Micro M&A to buy and turnaround struggling startups with great products.

Utopic Master Plan:

  1. Acquire and relaunch a proven product: Pro Benches
  2. Use that cashflow to launch new products.
  3. Create a pipeline for rapid product development.
  4. Inspire and invest in other founders’ studios through Utopic Ventures.

Funding: Studio funds all R&D until Series A:

  • All startups begin as part of Utopic LLC, the parent company.
    • Utopic LLC will remain 100% owned by me.
  • Spin out winning startups as independent companies.
    • Recruit CEO and leadership team for each startup.
    • Grant and sell equity in specific startups to key contributors.
  • Split startups into different funds.
    • Recruit LPs into Utopic Ventures fund that invests in every Utopic graduate.
    • Raise Opportunity Fund to lead growth rounds in Utopic startups.
      • Limit Opportunity Fund to Utopic Ventures LPs only.

Pipeline: Research (Lab) → Development (Factory) → Commercialization (Store)

  • I’m most energized when I’m working in the Lab.
  • I will recruit leaders for the Factory and Store.

Key: Recruiting CEOs

  • Target #1: Entrepreneurs with 1 small win or 1 big miss on their record.
  • Target #2: Collaborations with successful creators in other fields.

Key: Build a Founder Tree.

  • Recruit future CEOs into key roles inside startups.
  • Each project has one CEO, and that CEO recruits their own team.

Inspiration: The best features from my favorite creators and studios of all-time.

  • Use science and technology to invent the future like Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Lab:
    • “Menlo Park became the first institution set up with the specific purpose of producing constant technological innovation and improvement.”
  • Become a hub for creatives like Warhol’s Factory.
    • It wasn’t called the Factory for nothing. It was where the assembly line for the silkscreens happened. While one person was making a silkscreen, somebody else would be filming a screen test. Every day something new.” – John Cale
  • Create a winning culture that expects excellence every time like Pixar.
    • “The first two years of a movie’s development should be a time of solidifying the story beats by relentlessly testing them—much like you temper steel.” – Ed Catmull
  • Inspire and invest in the next generation of creators like J. Cole’s Dreamville.
    • Utopic Studio : Dreamville Studio :: Utopic Ventures : Dreamville Ventures
      • My studio’s success will attract the best founders to my fund.

Vision: Create a factory of solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems.

  • Start by creating, buying, and growing my own startups and products.
  • Expand by investing in other founders’ studios through Utopic Ventures.
Utopic Flywheel
The Utopic Flywheel

This idea is a work-in-progress. If you’d like to riff on it, hit me up @neilthanedar on Twitter.

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is an entrepreneur, investor, scientist, altruist, and author. He is the founder & GP of Utopic, a pre-seed biotech VC fund investing in the future of science. He is also the founder & chairman of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup, and Labdoor, a consumer watchdog with $7M+ in funding and 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has also served as Executive Director of The Detroit Partnership and Senior Advisor to his father Shri Thanedar in his campaigns for Governor, State Representative, and US Congress in Michigan.