Magical, My New Startup Studio in LA, Comes Out of Stealth





Today we began to reveal a little more of what we’ve been working on in stealth mode, since last December. It’s a new science and technology startup studio, based in Los Angeles, called Magical.

You might think of Magical as a moonshot factory, except that we’re not just aiming for the moon. We’re working on commercializing breakthroughs across a spectrum of fields including quantum computing, chemistry, energy, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

In fact, we have already got several of our new ventures up and running with funding and great teams involved. More about these ventures will be released later this year.

Magical is not a VC — we don’t invest in outside startups or going concerns. Everything we do is either solely originated by our team of in-house scientists and innovators, or co-originated with talented outside scientists and innovators we team up with.

We focus on projects that have world-changing potential: projects that are not only interesting, and potentially profitable, but that can benefit millions or billions of people.

Magical’s approach to building startups is based on a methodology that I have helped to pioneer, test and refine for almost a decade across nearly a dozen ventures. I call this the venture production model and it is similar to what some call the venture builder model or startup studio model, however my approach is unique in that it is centered around the new role of the venture producer.

Venture producers are professional co-founders. They are to startups, what movie producers are to movies: They specialize in getting startups from concept stage to growth stage. But once growth stage is reached, they move into advisory roles, and focus back on starting the next crop of new ventures. What I have learned over the last 20 years is how to systematize this process to produce slates of companies the way that movie studios produce slates of movies.

At Magical we are investing in our own internal R&D capabilities across multiple labs and innovators in different fields. This produces a continuous pipeline of internally-originated discoveries, inventions, prototypes, and intellectual property. The best of these innovations then go through a gauntlet of further testing and business analysis and those that make the final cut go into production with seed capital and full venture studio support from Magical.

Our goal is to enable our startups to focus primarily on product-market-fit, instead of the numerous distractions of fundraising, management and company building, until at least Series A. We bring all the necessary capital and resources to make this possible. And when it comes time to invite outside capital to the table, we manage the fundraising and deal process, working closely with funds and strategics who we know well.

Magical is also building an ecosystem to amplify our ventures with leading universities and strategic partners as well as world-class advisors, vendors, and investors. All of this is designed to free early stage technologists and scientists from inefficiencies so they can focus more of their time and energy on what’s most important: building and tuning their products.

Magical is what I’ve wanted to make for almost a decade now — and finally, the time is ripe for this, and I’m doing it here in LA.

So why Los Angeles? Los Angeles is fertile ground for innovation due to the intersection of Caltech, UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, and other schools, with the entertainment industry, the aerospace industry, a strong financial sector, and the thriving Silicon Beach and Pasadena tech ecosystems.

The talent pool in LA is strong and growing, and doesn’t have the over-saturation of competitors that we see in San Francisco. And of course, LA’s great weather and geography make it an attractive place to live and work. In recognition of these advantages, numerous tech incumbents have opened major LA campuses. In short, LA is a perfect place to develop science and technology ventures.

I’m really excited to be taking this new step in my life and career. I’ve got a great team of collaborators, venture producers, investors and friends involved and we are ready to change the world for the better. This is going to be fun.