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Pollen timeline: The events leading to troubled startup’s administration

Pollen recap
Image credit: Shutterstock / Vadim Ponomarenko

Events startup Pollen is now in administration after attempts to find a buyer were unsuccessful.

The company partnered with artists, entertainers, athletes and comedians to create bespoke events and festivals featuring the likes of Justin Bieber and 50 Cent.

More than 270,000 people travelled with the London-headquartered company, which was founded by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey in 2014.

It has raised hundreds of millions in VC cash from the likes of Northzone, Frontline, Molten Ventures and the British taxpayer through the government’s Future Fund.

In April, it secured $150m (£24m) from investors in a Series C funding round.

Despite this influx of cash, Pollen struggled to pay staff, vendors and customer refunds.

With no buyer found, the beleaguered company is undergoing a restructuring that will split its college travel business from the consumer-facing events business, Pollen.

Here’s a timeline of the key events leading up to the collapse of Pollen:

  • August 2022 – Pollen enters into administration, hiring Kroll to manage the insolvency.
  • August 2022 – Drumcode cancels Malta festival due to “serious failings” by Pollen.
  • July 2022 – Pollen hires US investment bank Goldman Sachs to find a buyer.
  • June 2022 – Pollen struggles to refund “thousands” of refund requests and misses payroll.
  • April 2022 – Raises $150m in Series C funding.
  • January 2022 – Pollen cancels Departure music festival last minute.
  • May 2020 – Pollen lays off 69 members of staff in North America and furloughs 34 in the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • October 2019 – $60m Series B. Rebrands from Verve to Pollen.
  • October 2017 – Raises $18.5m in Series A funding. Rebrands from StreetTeam to Verve.
  • October 2016 – Raises $10m in seed funding.
  • 2014 – Launches under the name StreetTeam Software as a platform turning festival goers into ticket sellers.

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