Online video network PodTech, citing a shift in focus, let go of web video personality Irina Slutsky on Wednesday. Slutsky, who had been with PodTech for a year, had brought with her the web show Geek Entertainment TV, and had helped PodTech put on the red-carpet Vloggies awards event last year. She had represented PodTech to the vlogging community, signing some independent creators to PodTech production deals and developing new shows.
However PodTech, which had recently been unsuccessful in seeking a second round of funding to add to the $5.5 million it raised in early 2006 from Venrock Associates and U.S. Venture Partners, is trying to batten down the hatches. PodTech had released GETV back to Slutsky and co-creator Eddie Codel earlier this year, laying off Codel as a full-time employee but letting him keep equipment to produce the show and contracting him to work on another show, LunchMeet. Slutsky had remained at the company to continue working on the Vloggies and other projects.
In an interview last week about the general status of PodTech, Furrier told NewTeeVee, “I had a vision that [GETV] could be a really great franchise. But it just didn’t click.” He said PodTech had 37 employees, with 20 percent of them focused on commissioned content from the companies’ customers, which include Intel, Symantec, and Seagate. Other revenue streams include sponsorship of editorial content and providing video tools and hosting for companies such as the San Jose Mercury News.
Of trying to raise new funding, Furrier complained, “Everyone’s elephant hunting, but they don’t know what they’re looking for. I think a lot of people don’t really understand what PodTech’s doing.” He attested — this was a week ago — that PodTech could be cash-flow positive by the fall of this year without cutting current projects. And at that point, it would seek more funding.
Slutsky said in an interview Wednesday that she understood the move, as she and PodTech had moved in different directions over the last year and the company spending too much of its resources on her. PodTech had deemphasized projects she had been involved with, such as the Vloggies. Meanwhile, she has been working on producing non-funded videos such as Wednesday’s Dontcha iPhone parody.
Furrier confirmed the story via email on Thursday morning, clarifying that there are still part-time contract opportunities for Slutsky at PodTech. He said the company had spent more than $500,000 on GETV. He also stated PodTech has “millions in the bank.”