• Donny Willis

As Mike Lu transitions to President, Triller's owner names Mahi de Silva as CEO.

Triller, a potential TikTok competitor run by parent company TrillerNet, has a new CEO, the company reported today. The short-form video app announced the acquisition of Amplify.AI, an AI-based consumer engagement network whose co-founder Mahi de Silva will now serve as TrillerNet's CEO. Mike Lu, the current CEO, will take over as president of TrillerNet and concentrate on investor relations. FITE TV, a live event and pay-per-view combat sports streaming website, was acquired separately by the group.

Before today, Mahi de Silva, the new CEO, had worked closely with Triller. According to the company's press release today, he's been non-executive chairman since 2016, but according to his LinkedIn profile, the year was 2019 (following Triller's 2019 funding by Proxima Media, when the press release said he was assuming the position of "chairman" at the time). When we inquired about these, the organization found that they are both incorrect. 2018 is the right year.

De Silva had been CEO and co-founder of Amplify.AI since 2017, and prior to that, he had been CEO of Opera Mediaworks, Opera Software's marketing and advertising arm, and co-founder and CEO of Botworx.

Following the acquisition, Amplify.AI, which works with brands in CPG, financial services, automotive, telecom, politics, and digital media, will function as a subsidiary of TrillerNet. Ram Moskovitz, a former RSA and VeriSign executive who helped design and create digital certificates for SSL and code signing, and Manoj Malhotra, co-founder and CTO of Amplify.ai, a leader in B2C SMS messaging, are among the other team members, according to the firm.

TrillerNet also revealed today that it is purchasing FITE TV, a strategic property that will help it transition its business into live events. Triller would gain a stronger presence in the live events and pay-per-view streaming markets as a result of this agreement, according to the company. As a result, FITE, which has a user base of 10 million, will be the exclusive digital distributor of all future Triller Fight Club boxing activities.

"Acquiring FITE is part of the broader Triller strategy to put content, creators, and commerce together for the first time and the only place where they genuinely connect," said Ryan Kavanaugh, the controversial former head of movie studio Relativity Media, whose Proxima Media became Triller's majority investor in 2019. "We've put hundreds of millions of dollars into it and believe we've built a stronger, more effective e-commerce content platform," he said.

TrillerNet has made a number of acquisitions to expand into live events, now that being a TikTok replacement in the United States is no longer a viable choice, thanks to the Trump ban being placed on hold by the Biden administration. Triller also acquired Verzuz, a live music streaming network founded by Swizz Beats and Timbaland, in March. It also runs Triller Flight Club, a joint venture with Snoop Dogg, as well as Triller TV, a streaming channel.

Although clear deal terms were not disclosed, Triller told TechCrunch that the company has invested $250 million on acquisitions so far, including Halogen, Mashtraxx, Verzuz, FITE, and Amplify.