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Kroll appointed administrator to Pollen

Insolvency specialist Kroll has been appointed administrator to music, travel and experiences startup Pollen, which collapsed just three months after raising US$150m in new funding.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, Pollen 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.

However, Pollen’s parent company Streetteam Software Limited fell into administration last week, having previously engaged Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for the global business.

Kroll’s Matt Ingram and Phil Dakin will now oversee the sale of the London-based firm’s remaining assets.

“The legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the growth model of the group”

“Pollen has established leading global brands and is at the forefront of the evolving experience travel sector,” says Ingram. “The legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the growth model of the group, but the underlying concept, brands and technology that the business has established will present a compelling opportunity as the travel sector recovers. We encourage any interested parties to contact us without delay.”

The administrators have not been appointed to oversee licensees and subsidiary companies who sell the experiences through the Pollen platform.

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. The company recently employed more than 250 people in the UK and hundreds more across the wider group.

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.

Customers with any concerns can email: [email protected]

 


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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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Pollen drafts in Goldman Sachs in search for buyer

Music, travel and experiences start-up Pollen has reportedly drafted in Goldman Sachs as it seeks to find a buyer.

The report by Sky News says Pollen is working with the investment bank to secure new funding, with indicative bids due earlier this month, and has asked restructuring specialist Kroll to assist with the process, although it is suggested that Kroll’s involvement is limited to Pollen’s student travel division.

A spokesperson for Pollen declined to comment on the report.

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. Its latest collaboration, Green Light Gang with 50 Cent, is set for Malta from 22-26 September.

The company raised US$150 million in a Series C round in April, only to let over 150 members of staff go in the UK and US a month later.

“As part of closing our Series C round, we agreed on a new plan with our investors where we will continue to show strong growth while taking the business to profitability faster through greater focus and cutting our costs by 15%,” Callum Negus-Fancey told Music Business Worldwide.

“All shareholders are really supportive of our change in strategy and agree it’s the best way to succeed and create value in the current environment”

Pollen Presents head of partnerships Zeon Richards also departed the firm this summer “citing practices within the company which do not align with my ethics”.

A report by Sifted said that Pollen had missed its June payroll and was working to “secure new funding, potentially in the form of an acquisition”. Pollen described the payroll “mis-timing” was an “an isolated, one-off event”.

In a press release earlier this month, the firm announced it was “moving from being a venture-backed loss making technology company focused on topline growth to an experiences and entertainment company focused on sustainable profitability”.

“All shareholders are really supportive of our change in strategy and agree it’s the best way to succeed and create value in the current environment,” added the statement.

Pollen 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.

The company previously raised over $100m in venture capital funding from investors including Kindred, Northzone, Sienna Capital, Backed and Draper Spirit.

 


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