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Events start-up Pollen heads into administration

UK-based music, travel and experiences start-up Pollen has fallen into administration, just three months after raising US$150m in new funding.

The embattled firm’s parent company Streetteam Software Limited has called in insolvency specialist Kroll to “administer its restructuring”.

“The management team have been in ongoing negotiations with a potential buyer for the parent company but have been unable to agree to terms in an appropriate time frame, leaving the board and shareholders agreeing the best option is to restructure the business,” it says in an official statement.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, London-headquartered Pollen has organised artist-curated weekenders such as a Bring Me The Horizon four-day festival in Malta, the Unruly Culture Splash Weekender in Croatia with Popcaan, Diplo’s Higher Ground festival in Cabo, Mexico and Justin Bieber & Friends in Las Vegas, US.

Pollen’s Green Light Gang collaboration with 50 Cent was recently postponed to 2023 after originally being set for this September. Record label Drumcode has also announced that its Drumcode Festival Malta will no longer be going ahead, citing “unresolved problems” with Pollen, which was responsible for providing venues, ticketing and accommodation for the event.

Streetteam says bids have already been received for its customer-facing subsidiary firms “meaning customer experiences and refunds will not be affected”.

“The holding company sells its travel experiences through its subsidiary businesses, and they will continue to trade as normal,” it says.

“The knock-on effects of Covid-19 over the last two years… together with the tech stock crash and current consumer uncertainty… put too much pressure on the business whilst at a critical stage of a scale-up’s maturity”

Last month, the company was reported to have drafted in investment bank Goldman Sachs to assist its bid to find a buyer.

According to accounts filed with Companies House, Streetteam recorded losses of £51.4 million in 2021, which followed a loss of £39.3m in 2020.

Pollen raised US$150m in a Series C round in April, only to let over 150 members of staff go in the UK and US a month later. Earlier, it raised over $100m in venture capital funding from investors including Kindred, Northzone, Sienna Capital, Backed and Draper Spirit, while the UK government’s Future Fund also previously invested in the firm.

“Despite strong growth since Streetteam Software Ltd’s inception eight years ago, the knock-on effects of Covid-19 over the last two years, which decimated much of the travel sector, together with the tech stock crash and current consumer uncertainty in light of global economic conditions, put too much pressure on the business whilst at a critical stage of a scale-up’s maturity,” adds the statement.

“The management team are working hard to get the best outcome for all stakeholders, whilst working with shareholders to find affected employees alternative positions in their portfolio of companies.”

Pollen, which was reported to have missed its June payroll and delayed its July payroll, runs two offerings: Pollen Presents, which curates experiences for customers across travel, music, and more; and Pollen+ which partners with promoters and music festivals to offer customers who book through its platforms perks at events.


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