Australian startup incubator and consultancy Pollenizer, which is often dubbed as industry pioneer in the country, announced to staff and investors on Tuesday that it is going to shut down.
Currently employing 22 people, the company will start to cut down its number to zero by the end of June.
Pollenizer has also cut out its other operations in order to continue supporting its startup portfolio to the next stage.
“We are entrepreneurs and we get out of bed in the morning to do something massive, and while it is certainly possible that Pollenizer could have continued indefinitely as a boutique consulting business, everyone on the team is motivated to do something huge and change the world somehow,” Pollenizer CEO and Startup Scientist Phil Morle told The Australian Financial Review.
“In the end we just couldn’t see the path to that, and now the important thing for me is that the amazing team around me get to move on and do amazing things,” he added.
Morle also cited their inability to find a sustainable business model as the reason behind the shutdown.
The next step
Pollenizer was founded in 2007 by Morle and Mick Liubinskas. It has offices in Sydney and Melbourne, and a presence in Manila and Singapore.
In 2016, Liubinskas joined Muru-D as venture portfolio manager in San Francisco, though he maintained the director position at Pollenizer.
The startups in their portfolio are Lawpath, HiveXchange, Mezo, CohortIQ and Spot. One of their notable successes was when its portfolio company Spreets was sold to Yahoo!7 for US$40 million in 2011; by the time it was the biggest deal ever sealed in the country.
While Morle is going to focus on the process of shutting down Pollenizer at the moment, once everything is secured, he plans on focussing on his moonshot projects.
He also stated that a software platform currently developed at Pollenizer has the potential to become scalable in its own right, and that the company will continue to back it with existing funds until July.
“I would like to do something like that very much. The software itself is very interesting, because it is essentially like Pollenizer in a machine … it would be history materialising its own destiny if it becomes what we hope it will become,” he said.
Despite setbacks faced by Pollenizer, Morle remains optimistic of the Australian startup ecosystem and wishes success for other players in the industry.
“If you measure Pollenizer by impact then I am enormously proud, and it is an unequivocal success … but in terms of finding a sustainable business model then we failed,” he said.
“Part of developing an entrepreneurial culture that systematically works requires that we can look at ourselves in the mirror and admit when something hasn’t worked … but boy did we learn a lot,” he closed.