At Portal A, Barrish is responsible for leading the overall growth strategy for the branded content and entertainment studio. His hire comes after Brent Montgomery and Jimmy Kimmel’s Wheelhouse Entertainment earlier this year inked a partnership deal with and acquired a minority stake in Portal A, marking the L.A.-based company’s first outside investment.
Most recently, Barrish was co-founder of Polymath Group, a strategic advisory firm specializing in branded content, with clients including SoulCycle, Viacom, Omnicom, Pocket.watch and Realtor.com. Prior to that, he was EVP of creative partnerships for Endemol Shine’s digital arm.
He was previously SVP of strategic partnerships at multichannel network operator Maker Studios, acquired in 2014 by Disney. Barrish remained at Disney for two years post-acquisition in an executive capacity.
“We’ve built Portal A for a decade independently, and now, with Wheelhouse in our corner, we’re ready to throw fuel on the fire,” said Zach Blume, co-founder of Portal A, in announcing Barrish’s hire. “Todd has an unequaled track record when it comes to supercharging businesses like ours — and we’re ready for the next chapter.”
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Montgomery, founder and CEO of Wheelhouse, added, “We see Todd as an essential piece of Portal A’s ongoing growth, and someone who will be able to take their best-in-class capabilities in digital content and bring them to an entirely new set of brand partners.”
Portal A claims that it has been profitable each year since its founding in 2009, with 120% revenue growth over the last three years. One of its flagship projects has been producing the annual YouTube Rewind video.
Recent brand and original content initiatives at Portal A have included producing new YouTube channels and original series for talent including Odell Beckham Jr., Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony and Adam Rippon; feature-length original documentary “State of Pride” for YouTube Originals; and a branded-content series for Google’s Chromebook called “The Science of Switching” featuring Bill Nye and others exploring the science and psychology of change.
Barrish commented, “The team at Portal A has done something few others in the space have – build a successful business and reputation for high-quality, premium content in an industry that has seen its share of content creators and studios fade from existence.”
Earlier in his career, Barrish was VP of sales for Digital Broadcasting Group and was the rich media team lead for Google’s DoubleClick. He also is co-founder and advisory board chair of FPT Media’s Brand Storytelling, where he has led agenda development for Elevate, an annual branded-content conference.