As Triller solidifies plans for an initial public offering (IPO), the short-form video app has hired longtime music executive Paul Kahn as CFO.
Kahn joins Triller from Warner Chappell Music, where he has served as CFO and executive vp for the past five years. Warner Chappell parent Warner Music Group launched its own IPO in May, valuing the company at roughly $12.5 billion.
“I’m elated to be joining Triller at such a great time in the company’s growth,” Kahn said. “The world now recognizes the influence that Triller holds, and brands and users are flocking to the platform.”
Prior to joining Warner Chappell, Kahn served as senior vp of Viacom, following six years as CFO of EMI Music North America. He has also served as a founding board member of the Mechanical Licensing Collective for the past two years.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Paul, one of the most accomplished executives in the music and content space. His unparalleled expertise is important during this exciting period of explosive growth and influence at Triller,” Triller co-owner and executive chairman Bobby Sarnevesht said. “Paul’s wealth of experience, coupled with Triller’s extraordinary momentum, is sure to accelerate us forward into this next chapter of expansion, and we’re lucky to have him on board.”
Founded in 2015, Triller emerged as a competitor to TikTok over this past summer. It leveraged TikTok’s battle with the White House as an opportunity to poach TikTok music executives (like Daniel Gillick and Mary Rahmani, who now serve as Triller’s global co-heads of partnerships), lure over celebrities and influencers and unveil a new influencer marketing product, CrossHype, among other announcements.
The company — which is majority-owned by Hollywood dealmaker Ryan Kavanaugh‘s media investment firm Proxima Media as of last year — now reports 250 million global downloads, although it has been accused of (and fiercely denies) inflating its usership numbers.
Triller is now looking to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and planned to enter an agreement to do so by the end of 2020, a source familiar with the situation told Billboard. SPACs are shell companies that raise money in an IPO, then merge with a privately-held target company, making that target publicly-traded as a result.
The company plans to complete the merger — or “de-SPAC” — in the first quarter of 2021, and the deal will also encompass Triller’s acquisition of several well-known companies, according to the source.
In November, Proxima Media also bolstered its executive ranks with the hire of former Universal Music Group senior vp of new digital business and innovation Tuhin Roy — who has shepherded companies like Pandora and Digital Music Group through IPOs — as operating principal and Triller’s president of business operations.