Pollen owed almost £80m at time of collapse

Featured image credit: Nainoa Shizuru on Unsplash

Travel and experiences start-up Pollen, which worked on events with the likes of Justin Bieber, Diplo and more, owed £78.6m ($90m/€91m) at the time of its collapse. 

According to filings on Companies House submitted by insolvency business Kroll, Pollen’s parent company Streetteam Software Limited owed £75m – £59.4m unsecured – to creditors when it fell into administration in August.

Pollen called in help in the form of restructuring firm Kroll and Goldman Sachs, before it fell into administration just months after raising $150m in April.

The filings also show that the group had been losing money since it had started trading. It said: “The Group has been loss making since it commenced trading with reported losses before tax of £57.4m, £42.7m and £52.4m in 2021, 2020 and 2019 respectively. The losses have been supported by equity raises and the support of its Secured Creditor.”

The report continued: “Trading was significantly impacted due to COVID-19 where a number of events had to be rearranged and cancelled. This further impacted on cash flows due to the level of customer refunds that fell due.

“The cash position continued to worsen and in June 2022 a winding up petition was issued by a creditor, which was withdrawn in July 2022 to allow a potential solvent transaction to continue to be explored. The Company also received 2 Notices Before Winding Up Petition and various County Court judgements.”

Cracks had started to show for Pollen when it was forced to lay off 150 members of staff in early June, and was unable to pay salaries.

Efforts had been made to save the company in August, but it was advised that the debts were too severe.

The filing said: “On 9 August 2022, the Directors had received an indicative offer for some of the assets of the Company and its subsidiary Company on an insolvent basis totalling £2.5m. Following discussions with Management, the Secured Creditor and lawyers advising the Company it was determined that a prepack sale at this level, given the extent of debt and previous marketing sale guidelines in the Goldman Sachs process, would be appropriate and a wider marketing process in Administration should be conducted.”

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