Travel and experiences company Pollen owed £78.6m ($90m) in unsecured debts to creditors at the time of collapse.
The ticketing platform, which worked on events with A-list artists like Justin Bieber and Diplo, fell into administration in August after securing more than $150m in venture funding from Europe’s best-known VCs.
Details of Pollen’s debts were cited in a report sent by administrators to creditors. Companies House filings submitted by insolvency specialist Kroll – the company that administers the start-up’s restructuring – revealed that Pollen had been losing money since it started trading.
“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 further highlights that the business’s cash flow was impacted by COVID-19’s effect, as several events had to be postponed or canceled.
Pollen’s debt includes £18.6m owed to secured creditor Global Growth Capital and £59.4m owed to unsecured creditors including vendors and funds (£24.3m), shareholders with claims (£2.2m), employee expenses (£3.1m) and convertible loans (£29.1m).
Companies House filings further reveal that Pollen received a £2.1m buyout offer one day before it went into administration. Pollen’s directors reportedly turned down the offer following a discussion with the company’s secured creditors.
In mid-September, the original buyer lowered its bid to £433,000 and proposed to add Just Experiences Ltd in the acquisition. Two weeks later, he halved the bid to £216,000.
Cracks on the tech start-up started to show in early June when Pollen was forced to lay off 150 staff members due to cash flow difficulties. Although directors tried to keep the company afloat in August, it was advised that the debts were too severe.