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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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Pollen teams with 50 Cent on Malta getaway

Music, travel and tech company Pollen has shared further details of its 50 Cent festival collaboration Green Light Gang, which heads to Malta from 22-26 September.

The rapper is headlining the four-day “island holiday experience” offering live music, parties, beach walks and other activities, and has curated a supporting line-up of hip-hop and R&B talent.

Confirmed acts include Akon, Fat Joe, Heartless Crew, DJ Premier, Remi Ma, So Solid Crew, Trina and Jeremih, while venues will include nightclubs Uno, Cafe Del Mar and The Castle.

Hotel options start at £499, with add-ons such as champagne brunch and cruises, jet ski safari and other VIP packages also available.

Pollen previously teamed with Bring Me The Horizon on a four-day festival in Malta

“Influencer marketplace” Pollen previously teamed with rock band Bring Me The Horizon on a four-day festival in Malta in May.

Other artist-curated weekenders organised by Pollen Presents include the Unruly Culture Splash Weekender in Croatia with Popcaan, Diplo’s Higher Ground festival in Cabo, Mexico, the Kurupt FM Weekender in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and J Balvin’s Neon Weekender and Justin Bieber & Friends – both in Las Vegas, US.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, London-headquartered 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 raised US$150 million in a Series C round earlier this year.

 


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Pollen Presents unveils four-day Croatia takeover

Music, travel and experiences start-up Pollen is launching four-day island takeover the Unruly Culture Splash Weekender in Croatia later this year.

Headlined by dancehall star Popcaan, the festival is being staged in collaboration with Team Unruly and will fuse Jamaican, African and UK music.

The four-day “feast of Caribbean culture” is billed as “the first travel getaway of its kind in Europe” and is set for Zrće beach, Pag Island from 1-5 September. Attractions include all day and night parties, such as themed pool parties, brunches and boat parties, spa and make up treatments and daily exercise classes, alongside live performances from Popcaan and special guests.

Pollen Presents has previously organised a number of artist-curated weekenders

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

Pollen Presents has previously organised a number of artist-curated weekenders with artists including Justin Bieber in Las Vegas, Diplo in Cabo, Kurupt FM in Amsterdam, J Balvin in Vegas and Bring Me The Horizon in Malta.

 


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Destination music experiences company Pollen raises $150m

Pollen, the music, travel and experiences start-up, has raised US$150 million in a Series C round.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, the London-headquartered company 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 firm says that it uses data and customer insights to create experiences that are exclusive to its platform, and also partners with “the biggest music festivals and brands in the world” to sell their experiences.

Pollen Presents has organised a number of artist-curated weekenders with artists including Justin Bieber in Las Vegas, Diplo in Cabo, Kurupt FM in Amsterdam, J Balvin in Vegas and Bring Me The Horizon in Malta.

Pollen+ has partnered with promoter brands and music festivals including We Are FSTVL, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Electric Zoo and Live Nation.

“People want personalised travel experiences built around what they are passionate about”

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

Backers named in the latest funding announcement include Kindred, Lansdowne Partners, Northzone, Sienna Capital, Backed and Molton Ventures.

Pollen says that its Series C funding comes on the heels of “significant momentum” for the company, after seeing sales increase “more than 300% relative to pre-pandemic levels”.

“People want personalised travel experiences built around what they are passionate about,” says co-founder and CEO Callum Negus-Fancey.

“Pollen is at the forefront of this demand; we use our proprietary data and customer insights to build one-of-a-kind travel experiences with the world’s biggest talent and brands in the best destinations. When people look back after 10 years, and think about their top five memories, we want them to feel like Pollen was responsible for three of them.”

 


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Bring Me The Horizon to curate festival in Malta

Bring Me The Horizon have announced plans to curate a four-day festival in Malta next year.

The event, which will take from 26-30 May 2022, will feature a handpicked line-up by the Sheffield rock band, a full live show and an exclusive retrospective set from the band alongside a host of club nights, pool party takeovers and boat parties.

The line-up and location are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

The weekender is organised by Pollen, a UK-based startup that develops an ‘influencer marketplace’ for events.

Other artist-curated weekenders organised by Pollen Presents include Diplo’s Higher Ground festival in Cabo, Mexico, the Kurupt FM Weekender in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, J Balvin’s Neon Weekender and Justin Bieber & Friends – both in Las Vegas, US.

“[We’re going to] come up with as much madness as you’d expect from a fully metal, rock festival”

“We’re buzzing to be hosting a Bring Me The Horizon-themed festival in Malta next year, coming up with as much madness as you’d expect from a fully metal, rock festival,” says frontman Oli Sykes.

“As well as our headline set we’re also going to be doing a special throwback set with some songs we haven’t played for years, and have an insane lineup of friends and guests coming out to perform too. It’s basically going to be the greatest weekend ever.”

Pollen, founded in 2014 and previously called Verve, works with organisers, promoters and ticketing platforms to negotiate a certain amount of tickets to an event that will be marketed through the members (anyone who books a group experience), according to Tech Crunch.

The members, in turn, decide which events they want to promote to their networks. Those who manage to shift tickets (which are not sold by Pollen but by ticketing partners), get rewards including free trips, VIP upgrades, and private group events. Pollen generates revenue by taking a cut on each sale.

The startup, which raised $60 million in funding in October 2019, has worked with the likes of Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, StubHub and SeeTickets.


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Pollen teams up with Justin Bieber for Vegas weekender

Pollen, a UK-based startup that develops an ‘influencer marketplace’ for events, has announced its latest artist-curated weekender with Justin Bieber.

The startup, founded in 2014 and previously called Verve, works with organisers, promoters and ticketing platforms to negotiate a certain amount of tickets to an event that will be marketed through the members of Pollen (anyone who books a group experience), according to Tech Crunch.

The members, in turn, decide which events they want to promote to their networks. Those who manage to shift tickets (which are not sold by Pollen but by ticketing partners), get rewards including free trips, VIP upgrades, and private group events. Pollen generates revenue by taking a cut on each sale.

The startup, which raised $60 million in funding in October 2019, has worked with the likes of Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, StubHub and SeeTickets.

The startup has worked with the likes of Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, StubHub and SeeTickets.

Pollen Presents’ Justin Bieber & Friends will take place between 7–10 October 2021 in Las Vegas, with festivities split between the Wynn Las Vegas’ XS Nightclub and Encore Beach Club.

The weekender will kick off with an opening party at XS on Thursday night, followed by a pool party on Friday, and a ‘skate park takeover’ and headline set from Bieber on Saturday.

The first wave of artists for the weekender include The Kid Laroi, Jaden Smith, David Guetta, Kehlani, TroyBoi and Eddie Benjamin – all of whom were selected by Bieber.

Passes for the weekender are on sale via Pollen in three tiers, each of which includes three-night accommodation and event access for two punters, priced between $1,099 (€941) and $1,399 (€1,197).

Other artist-curated weekenders organised by Pollen Presents include Diplo’s Higher Ground festival in Cabo (Mexico), the Kurupt FM Weekender in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and J Balvin’s Neon Weekender in Las Vegas, US.

 


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