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Leadership changes in the works at Priatek

Margie Manning

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Priatek Plaza at 200 Central Ave.

The leadership of Priatek, a St. Petersburg advertising technology company, is in flux.

Allen Clary, who previously was an entrepreneur in residence at Tampa Bay Wave and runs the investment firm Signal Point Ventures, said he is coming in as president.

Milind Bharvirkar

He will provide operational leadership and support for Milind Bharvirkar, who had been president since he founded the company in 2010. Bharvirkar remains at the company as chairman and founder, Clary said.

Bharvirkar said he will focus on sales, business development and third-party deals going forward.

“I chose and appointed Allen Clary to be the new president,” Bharvirkar said. “I have so much on my plate that I needed someone to to run this day to day.”

The leadership change comes as Priatek, which designs, manufactures and operates gaming kiosks that feature digital ads, embarks on a major expansion.

The company just installed 36 kiosks in six malls in the metro New York area. An official launch and major marketing push is planned for next week, but the kiosks already have created over 2,600 subscribers and 11,000 engagements during October, said Nick Piburn, a spokesman for the company.

The plan is to have kiosks in 25 to 30 malls in the New York area in the next few months, Bharvirkar said.

“We’re talking to major brands” as advertisers, Bharvirkar said. “Hopefully that will open doors to other cities.”

Priatek is in the sweet spot for adtech, or advertising technology, one of the strongest technology sectors in the Tampa Bay area, according to Startup Genome, a global organization that fosters entrepreneurship. Priatek engages retail shoppers who can win prizes or tokens for gift cards. Consumers who play the games fill out surveys that provide data to advertisers. The data is on the company’s In2Win platform, which is based on blockchain and digitally records and verifies transactions.

Priatek has established a new wholly owned subsidiary, VendXOR, which is a blockchain company that records transaction and tracks coupons, Bharvirkar said. He’s working with that company as well as selling.

“I spoke to many CEOs in the Tampa Bay area and all of them said they spent 80 percent of their time selling,” Bharvirkar said. “I said that’s what I need to do. I made this product, it was my vision, I think it’s appropriate that I’m out there to sell it.”

Priatek was launched in Odessa, but moved to downtown St. Petersburg in 2015 when it bought naming rights for the 28-story tower at 200 Central Ave. Third Lake Capital, the Tampa-based investment firm for Ashley Furniture’s Wanek family, acquired that building last year.

Separately, Bobby Tinsley, who was vice president of innovation, said he left Priatek in September to pursue a new venture in blockchain. “I love the company and the people, but it was time for me to make a change,” Tinsley said.

Priatek was just named one of five “Best Tech Startups in St. Petersburg” by Tech Tribune.

The company was named “Startup of the Year” by TiE Tampa Bay last year.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Carol Briam

    November 1, 2018at3:18 pm

    Milind Bharvirkar is such an impressive and knowledgeable local tech industry leader. Allen Clary is a great choice to join Priatek as President.

  2. Avatar

    Merle Benny

    November 2, 2018at11:45 am

    What happened to the naming rights?
    I agree, Milind is an impressive business leader and Priatek is a great part of the St Pete tech and startup community.

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