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Troubled events startup Pollen in administration after failing to find buyer

It follows a rocky few months of missed payroll and unpaid refunds

By Freya Pratty

London-based events company Pollen has sent an email to employees confirming it is restructuring after failing to find a buyer, the latest startup to fall victim to a chilly funding environment and economic concerns. The announcement comes just a few months after the company announced $150m in fresh VC funding. 

“Our parent company (StreetTeam Software Limited) is appointing administrators to restructure after we were not able to sell the company in its entirety,” founder Callum Negus-Fancey wrote in the email, sent just after midnight London time on Wednesday and seen by Sifted.

The company had aimed to sell itself in its entirety, he said, but has only received bids for its consumer-facing subsidiary, including Pollen. Its college travel business, most active in the US, is set to become independent as part of the restructuring, the email said.

Founded in 2014, the company works with music producers to put on festivals and travel experiences around the world. The company received the backing of some of Europe’s best-known VCs, including Kindred, Northzone, Backed and Molton Ventures, including a $150m Series C in April.

Its restructuring follows a rocky few months, after Pollen missed payroll for staff and was accused of owing thousands to customers in unpaid refunds for cancelled events. 

The company had previously brought in Goldman Sachs to try and find a buyer, according to the email. The process had not been successful, Negus-Fancey said, because of reduced M&A activity and the market’s new focus on profitability.

“We were not considered a big enough priority to buy in this climate, even by companies who had tried to buy us for significantly more money previously,” he writes. 

“I am sorry that I wasn’t able to close a deal in which we sold the business in its entirety and kept the whole company together.”

Freya Pratty is a reporter at Sifted. She tweets from @FPratty.

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Geraldine
Geraldine

So where does that leave my son who is/was employed by them!!!

Abby
Abby

It leaves him unemployed and available for another opportunity , hopefully with a more stable company with a better thought out business plan…