Founder of failed digital agency Topia Project Nyree Corby moves to Sapient Nitro

Nyree Corby, who created digital agency The Topia Project which went into administration owing more than 40 creditors in excess of a million dollars, has re-emerged as national business strategy director of Sapient Nitro.  

She founded The Topia Project in 2005. But in 2009 Topia’s financial troubles became terminal. The Topia Project’s name was changed to CHD Marketing Services and The Topia Project name was sold to a company called Direct Media Consulting. Corby then became the CEO of the new company which continued to work from the same office with the same employees and service the same clients.

But Corby has now joined Sapient Nitro, along with digital strategist Ravi Prasad, who was previously Topia’s head of strategy.

Nyree Corby Tim Burrowes Mumbrella AwardsShe went public yesterday by accepting  Sapient Nitro’s two awards at yesterday’s Mumbrella Readers Choice Awards. The agency won social media campaign of the year for Tourism Queensland’s Best Job in the World and it was also awarded creative agency of the year.

Corby declined to comment on Topia, but said that it was still in operation. However, the phone number listed on the website appears to be out of order and when Mumbrella visited the address listed on the Topia website, nobody was there. Neighbouring businesses told Mumbrella that nobody had been working from that office for some time.

In May, Topia’s website listed clients including Sensis, UBD, Village Roadshow, Dyson, Centrebet, RM Williams and the Canadian tourist body. This information has since been removed and it is not known what clients it works with currently.

At the time Corby said: “The financial problems were caused by a combination of my youthful optimism, some bad debts and poor financial advice.” And she said then of the new Topia Project: “Solid, stable, well funded and well resourced; The Topia Project will continue to provide a results-driven marketing approach for our clients and can achieve our vision of being the new breed of agency required for today’s media environment.”

Michael Branagh, Sapient Nitro’s national managing director, told Mumbrella: “I do know the history of Topia. We’ve taken her on with respect as an individual. It’s arm’s length, in terms of the history of Topia.” He said that at this stage no clients had come across from Topia to Sapient Nitro.

In a press release he added: “I think our investment in Nyree and Ravi will prove a wise one.

“We are looking to Nyree to help grow our business nationally. She brings to our agency a tenacious attitude that we intend to leverage to ensure that the momentum created through our success in 2009 continues into 2010 and beyond.”


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