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Pollen was an events and festival tech startup. Founded in 2014, the company raised more than $200M in venture capital. It was headquartered in the UK, with a significant presence in the US and Poland. The company organized unique “event experiences” featuring superstars such as Justin Bieber.
Pollen seemed to have pulled off the improbable feat of building a business in the notoriously low margin industry of events, surviving Covid-19, and building a solid software engineering organization. In April this year, the company announced it had raised another $150M in fresh funding.
But just three weeks later, Pollen laid off about 200 people, a third of staff. Leadership assured employees all was well. However, from that point on, things got worse. Leadership later pulled the plug on Slack, employees were not paid wages, pension contributions went missing, and vendors were not paid. Some vendors took matters into their own hands; on 9 August 2022, JIRA was suspended when Atlassian tired of the company’s failure to pay.