PhillyInc: Video-production company Poptent names a new CEO

Nick Pahade, new Poptent CEO.
Nick Pahade, new Poptent CEO.
Posted: May 23, 2013

Poptent, the video-production outfit with a major office in Conshohocken that uses crowdsourcing to produce content, has named a new CEO.

Nick Pahade will succeed Rick Parkhill, the California investor who founded Poptent in 2007 to match independent filmmakers with Fortune 100 companies and ad agencies to generate content at about one-seventh the cost of traditional production.

Starting June 3, Pahade, who lives in the Princeton area, will be based out of the Conshohocken headquarters, where about 30 of Poptent's 55 employees work. But the company said in a statement that he will spend a lot of time in New York, the nexus of the advertising world.

For Pahade, it will be his second tour of duty in a Philadelphia-area digital-marketing operation. He was president of TrueAction, a unit of King of Prussia-based GSI Commerce Inc., from 2008 to 2010.

Poptent said that its roster of filmmakers now tops 65,000 worldwide, and that it has issued more than $7 million in "creator payments" for completed video assignments.

The firm's primary outside investor is MK Capital, a Chicago venture-capital firm that has funded other digital-media firms, including Los Angeles-based Awesomeness TV, which agreed to be acquired this month by DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. for $33 million.

Independence play

A major investor in business-software developer Astea International Inc. is unhappy with one of the Horsham company's board members.

Kinetic Catalyst Partners L.L.C., of Hanover, N.H., is not waging a proxy battle, but it is urging Astea shareholders to choose "withhold" when they vote on director Adrian Peters at the June 13 annual meeting.

Why? Kinetic, which owns 7.9 percent of Astea's common stock, said in a letter filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Peters "has failed to provide effective independent oversight."

Specifically, Kinetic pointed to a September 2008 preferred-stock financing, totaling $3 million, between Astea and chief executive Zack Bergreen, who provided the cash at a time the public company needed it. Peters signed off on that deal.

Astea defended Peters' independence in a separate SEC filing, saying the 63-year-old has made "a significant and positive contribution" to the board and urged shareholders to cast favorable votes for him.

Kinetic says it wants to send a message about director independence, but its effort faces a big hurdle. Bergreen, who founded Astea in 1979, owns 44 percent of the company.

Get out the vote

There is plenty of corporate governance to be waged before the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.

On Wednesday, medical-device maker Echo Therapeutics, pharmaceutical company Endo Health Solutions, and financial services firm SEI Investments hold their annual shareholder meetings.

On Thursday, Lincoln National, another financial-services company, and electronic-components maker Vishay Intertechnology gather their shareholders, as will Hersha Hospitality Trust, Safeguard Scientifics, Sun Bancorp, and ViroPharma.


Contact Mike Armstrong

at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at www.inquirer.com/phillyinc.

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