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Tech bros who ran $800M events startup to bankruptcy spent lavishly on drug-fueled parties

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Two British tech entrepreneurs who led an event and travel startup that was price as much as $800 million spent tons of of 1000’s of dollars on drug- and alcohol-fueled parties and ran a “frat boy” culture rife with sexual harassment before the corporate imploded, in accordance with a report.

Callum Negus-Fancey, 32, and his brother, Liam, 29, founded Verve, an organization that bundled music festival tickets with stays at luxury resorts that included concert events by headliners similar to Justin Bieber, 50 Cent, and Scooter Bran. The corporate’s name was later modified to Pollen.

Pollen, which was based in the UK but had an intensive presence in the USA and Poland, raised greater than $200 million from enterprise capital firms. It filed for bankruptcy in August.

Former employees of the firm told the news site Insider that the brothers spent extravagantly on massive parties that included widespread alcohol use in addition to consumption of medicine similar to Ecstasy, acid, cocaine, ketamine, and mushrooms.

Callum Negus-Fancey, founded Verve, an organization that bundled music festival tickets with stays at luxury resorts. Pollen

“It was harder to not find drugs than to seek out them,” one former Pollen worker told Insider.

In May 2019, the 2 brothers staged a five-day glamping festival replete with acrobatic dancers, DJs, and contortionists at a camp-out site in Mendocino County, Calif.

The event, which was to rejoice a $30 million infusion of enterprise capital funding, cost the corporate $500,000, in accordance with Insider.

Pollen, a British events startup that was worth as much as $800 million, went bankrupt after the two brothers who ran the company threw lavish alcohol- and drug-fueled parties, according to a report.Pollen, a British events startup that was price as much as $800 million, went bankrupt after the 2 brothers who ran the corporate threw lavish alcohol- and drug-fueled parties, in accordance with a report.Getty Images for Wynn Las Vegas

Pollen executives inculcated a celebration culture throughout the company, where it was routine for staffers to take shots of hard liquor during working hours, former employees told Insider.

“I just remember attending to the office at like 10 a.m. and taking shots, and it’s like a Tuesday,” a former worker told Insider. The worker said that in his second week at the corporate, he was told to embark on a daylong scavenger hunt.

One other woman who was hired by Pollen when she was 20 years old said that on her first day at work in the corporate’s Los Angeles office, she was served mimosas.

Liam Negus-Fancey (pictured) and his brother spent heavily on parties while running their company into the ground, according to a report.Liam Negus-Fancey (pictured) and his brother spent heavily on parties while running their company into the bottom, in accordance with a report.Twitter / Liam Negus

“I’d describe it as a frat, but a job,” she said.

“And at 20 that was great because I used to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, first job out of faculty, it’s just a celebration.’”

The Post has sought comment from Pollen. An organization rep told Insider that only those that were of legal drinking age were served alcohol.

At one lock-in party in September 2018, Callum allegedly poured whiskey into employees' drinks without asking them. At one lock-in party in September 2018, Callum allegedly poured whiskey into employees’ drinks without asking them. Facebook / Callum Negus

Former employees also alleged that in retreats they took part in “speed dating” games by which staffers asked one another sexually explicit questions, including: “Of the people on this room, who do you think that is more than likely to sleep with three other people on this room in some unspecified time in the future of their profession?”

One other flash card that was used through the game included the query: “Would you somewhat be a virgin eternally or have sex together with your sibling one time to interrupt the curse?”

Ex-employees told Insider that while participation in these “games” was optional, they felt as in the event that they were required to participate in them.

“For those who didn’t engage with it or laugh about it, then you definately were seen as not fun and never getting involved,” one former worker said.

Liam Negus-Fancey was photographed by a former employee receiving an IV drip after a night of heavy partying, according to a report.Liam Negus-Fancey was photographed by a former worker receiving an IV drip after an evening of heavy partying, in accordance with a report.Instagram / Liam Negus-Fancey

Ex-staffers also told Insider that Pollen would rent out karaoke bars and roller skating rinks for so-called “lock-in” parties.

The “lock-ins,” which were ostensibly team-bonding experiences, were viewed by employees as a pretext to “get completely obliterated.”

At after-parties in LA-area residences, cocaine was freely passed around — an allegation the corporate denied.

Ex-employees told Insider that while participation in these Ex-employees told Insider that while participation in these “games” was optional, they felt as in the event that they were required to participate in them.Facebook / Callum Negus

At one lock-in party in September 2018, Callum allegedly poured whiskey into employees’ drinks without asking them. One in every of those employees was a 20-year-old woman.

The 20-year-old was so intoxicated that she nearly passed out and was unable to maintain her head up or her eyes open, in accordance with Insider, which cited witnesses.

An organization spokesperson denied to Insider that Callum gave alcohol to unsuspecting employees and that the corporate at all times made sure to serve liquor to those of legal drinking age.

One other ex-employee told Insider that she was afraid to look away from her drink for fear that Callum would spike it with more alcohol.

Pollen would sell packages that included stays at luxury hotels and concerts by top stars including Justin Bieber.Pollen would sell packages that included stays at luxury hotels and concert events by top stars including Justin Bieber.Getty Images for Wynn Las Vegas

In April 2018, a former worker alleged that Liam slid his hand down her lower back and over her buttocks at a Las Vegas venue that was rented out to rejoice the corporate’s $25 million acquisition of JusCollege, an organization that sold travel packages to school students.

An organization rep told Insider that the allegation was “completely unfaithful.”

Earlier this 12 months, Pollen’s parent company, Streetteam Software Limited, announced that the corporate was insolvent.

“Despite strong growth since Streetteam Software Ltd.’s inception eight years ago, the knock-on effects of COVID-19 during the last two years, which decimated much of the travel sector, along with the tech stock crash and current consumer uncertainty in light of worldwide economic conditions, put an excessive amount of pressure on the business whilst at a critical stage of a scale-up’s maturity,” the corporate said.

Just months earlier, Pollen announced a $150 million fundraising round from enterprise capital firms similar to Northzone and Lansdowne Partners.

Nevertheless it wasn’t enough to beat operating losses last 12 months.

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