Justin Baldoni’s Wayfarer Studios Receives $125 Million Investment (EXCLUSIVE)06/15/2022
Wayfarer Studios — the independent production studio from filmmaker, author and “Jane the Virgin” actor Justin Baldoni — has received a $125M investment to boost strategic growth and further the company’s production of film, television, documentaries, podcasts and new media projects, Variety has learned exclusively.
The private investment comes from Wayfarer Studios’ co-founder Steve Sarowitz, the entrepreneur, billionaire philanthropist and chairman of software company Paylocity, along with his wife, Jessica Sarowitz. Wayfarer was founded in 2019 by Baldoni and Sarowitz, who has served as an active advisor since the company’s inception.
Wayfarer Studios’ mission is to bring people together and highlight connection through storytelling. The company is rooted in creating globally impactful projects, and prides itself in debunking the typical studio model by championing inspirational stories towards social change.
Together, Sarowitz and Baldoni hold the belief that purpose-driven content and commercial success are not mutually exclusive, and the new investment will boost the company’s production capabilities and strengthen its mission to shine a light on underrepresented voices and celebrate humanity in a greater capacity.
Sarowitz, who has served as an executive producer on the Peabody Award-winning film “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” and the religious documentary “The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith,” has played in integral role in shaping the executive ranks at Wayfarer Studios. From the start, he has advised the company to ensure its mission is realized within every project it develops, produces and finances.
“When Justin and I founded Wayfarer Studios, our focus was to build a change agent that brings to life meaningful stories that will inspire and lift humanity to a higher level,” said Sarowitz, in a statement. “It was important to us that we veer away from the model of traditional movie studios. In order to transform minds, we need to first change hearts with the stories we make. With this added investment in the people, work, and the focus of Wayfarer Studio, we are excited and encouraged to advance projects to bring them to a global audience.”
Wayfarer Studios was behind the Disney+ film “Clouds,” directed by Baldoni. In 2020, Wayfarer launched “The Six Feet Apart Experiment,” a film competition aimed to empower first-time feature filmmakers to create socially impactful films during the pandemic, providing the mentorship, financing and distribution to bring the films to life. The studio also produces the popular “Man Enough Podcast,” which explores redefining masculinity and is co-hosted by Baldoni, Wayfarer’s president Jamey Heath and feminist journalist Liz Plank.
“I’m so proud of what our team has achieved in its first two years,” said company chairman, Baldoni. “We have big dreams to create and finance projects that produce both financial and spiritual returns. We are motivated by our double bottom line and at our core aim to disrupt for good. This incredibly generous backing not only helps us further our production capabilities across our slate, but helps support our rapid growth and frees us from the red tape of an industry that far too often has been motivated by fear instead of inspiration and love. I am so grateful to Steve, and his wife Jessica, for their continued support of our like-minded mission for what Wayfarer can and will become.”
Upcoming projects for Wayfarer Studios include “Empire Waist,” a body-positive, coming-of-age dramedy, and “The Senior,” a heartfelt football comeback story, starring Michael Chiklis. In 2021, Wayfarer entered a first-look partnership with Procter & Gamble, spanning film, TV and new media.
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