Tech brothers spent $800 million on events before bankruptcy: report

Two British tech entrepreneurs who led an $800 million events and travel startup spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on drug and alcohol-fuelled parties and ran a sexually abusive “frat boy” culture before the company imploded. according to the report.

Callum Negus-Fancy, 32, and his brother Liam, 29, founded Verve, which bundled music festival tickets with luxury resort stays, including concerts by headliners such as Justin Bieber, 50 Cent and Scooter Braun. The company name was later changed to Pollen.

Based in the UK but with a presence in the United States and Poland, it has raised more than $200 million from venture capital firms. Filed for bankruptcy in August.

Former employees of the company This was reported by Insider the brothers overspent on partying, which included widespread alcohol consumption, as well as the use of drugs such as ecstasy, acid, cocaine, ketamine, and mushrooms.

“It was harder not to find drugs than to find them,” Pollen’s former employee told Insider.

In May 2019, two brothers hosted a five-day glamping festival at a campground in Mendocino County, California, featuring acrobatic dancers, DJs and contortionists.

The event, which was supposed to celebrate a $30 million venture capital funding, cost the company $500,000, according to Insider.

Pollen’s leaders instilled a party culture at the company, where it was common for employees to drink hard liquor during work hours, former employees told Insider.

“I remember going into the office at 10 in the morning and taking pictures and it’s like Tuesday,” the former employee told Insider. According to the employee, in his second week at the company, he was ordered to go on a scavenger hunt for the day.

According to the report, Liam Negus-Fancy (pictured) and his brother ran their company into the ground and spent a lot of money on parties.
Twitter / Liam Negus

Another woman hired by Pollen in her 20s said she was served a mimosa on her first day at the company’s Los Angeles office.

“I would describe it as a brotherhood, but a job,” he said.

“And in my 20s, it was really cool because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, my first job out of college, it’s just a party.'”

The Post asked Pollen for comment. A company representative told Insider that alcohol is only available to those of legal age.

Former employees also claimed that during the retreat, they participated in “speed dating” games in which employees asked each other sexually suggestive questions, including: “Who do you think has slept with the most three people in this room? Is this room at some point in their career?

Another flashcard used during the game had the question: “Would you rather be a virgin forever or have sex with your brother once to break the curse?”

Former employees told Insider that while participating in these “games” was voluntary, they felt compelled to participate in them.

“If you didn’t engage with it or laugh about it, you were considered uninteresting and uninteresting,” said one former employee.

Liam Negus-Fancy was reportedly photographed by a former employee receiving an IV after a night of heavy partying.
Liam Negus-Fancy was reportedly photographed by a former employee receiving an IV after a night of heavy partying.
Instagram / Liam Negus-Fancy

Former employees also told Insider that Pollen would rent out karaoke bars and ice rinks for “locked-in” parties.

“Lockouts,” supposedly a team-bonding experience, were seen by employees as an excuse to “disappear completely.”

Cocaine was freely handed out at parties in Los Angeles residences – a claim the company denied.

At one of the parties in September 2018, Callum poured himself whiskey without asking the staff. One of those employees was a 20-year-old woman.

According to Insider, citing witnesses, the 20-year-old girl was so drunk that she almost passed out and could not lift her head or open her eyes.

A company spokesperson denied to Insider that Callum had ever served alcohol to unsuspecting employees and that the company always ensures that alcohol is served to those of legal drinking age.

Another former employee told Insider that Callum was afraid to stop drinking for fear he would drink more.

Pollen sells packages that include stays at luxury hotels and concerts by famous stars like Justin Bieber.
Pollen sells packages that include stays at luxury hotels and concerts by famous stars like Justin Bieber.
Getty Images for Wynn Las Vegas

In April 2018, a former employee alleged that Liam moved his hand down her lower back and buttocks at a Las Vegas hotel rented to celebrate the $25 million acquisition of JusCollege, a company that sells travel packages to college students.

A spokesperson for the company told Insider that the claim is “absolutely false.”

Earlier this year, Pollen’s parent company, Streetteam Software Limited, declared the company’s insolvency.

Eight years ago, Streetteam Software Ltd. despite strong growth since its inception, the impact of COVID-19, which has wiped out much of the travel sector over the past two years, the collapse of tech stocks and current consumer uncertainty. “Given the global economic conditions, the business is under extreme pressure, while at a critical stage of scaling,” the company said.

A few months ago, Pollen announced a $150 million round of funding from venture capital firms like Northzone and Lansdowne Partners.

But it was not enough to offset operating losses last year.


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