Dan Wagner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dan Wagner
Born (1963-07-28) 28 July 1963 (age 53)
Edgware, Middlesex, England
Nationality British
Occupation Businessman
Known for MAID/Dialog, Venda Inc, ATTRAQT, Powa Technologies, Rezolve
Website brightstation.com

Daniel Maurice Wagner (born 28 July 1963) is a British Internet entrepreneur. He created MAID, one of the first internet online information platforms in 1984, but the company's share price collapsed in 2000 when the dot-com bubble burst.[1] He was later the founder and CEO of Powa Technologies, where he raised in excess of $ 200 million of funding[2] before the company went into administration in early 2016.[3]

Early life[edit]

Wagner was born in Edgware, Middlesex on 28 July 1963.[4] The younger of two brothers, Wagners father was a managing director at BMW and his parents divorced when he was 9 years old.[5][4] He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood but expelled when he was 13, before attending several schools, ending up at University College School, London.[6]

Wagner dropped out of school when he was sixteen years old to work as a shop assistant for entrepreneur Julian Richer at Richer Sounds.[5] Afterwards he joined an advertising agency, WCRS, as an account executive. There he came up with the idea of creating databases of records about businesses as a resource for marketing professionals.[5]



Wagner quit his job at the ad agency[5] and founded the online information company MAID (Market Analysis Information Database) in 1984, when he was 21 years old.[7] The company grew quickly[8] and obtained a 26 percent market-share.[5] According to The Observer he was "one of the first people to realise the benefits of packaging electronic information and data for scientists, librarians and other specialists."[1] The company went public on the stock market in 1994 and was renamed to Dialog.[5] It was also listed on NASDAQ in 1995.[9] In August 1995, Wagner earned £ 36 million in two days after a 300 percent increase in share values, prompted by a partnership with Microsoft.[7] Wagner became known for becoming a CEO of a public company in his 20s[10] and for presiding over the company's share price decline in the dot-com crash in 2000. Subsequently, it was nicknamed by the city and a number of publications as 'Dial-a-dog'.[11]

In 1997, Wagner agreed a deal to licence search technology (InfoSort) to Fujitsu of Japan[12] which was hailed by Prime Minister Tony Blair.[13]

The share price of Dialog dropped 95 percent[7] during the dot-com crash[8] and the company was sold to Thomson for $500 million in 2000.[8] His choice of attire (a Donald Duck waistcoat) to a media photocall ahead of the MAID IPO was considered responsible for reducing the value of shares by 10p.[14] The sale occurred primarily to relieve the debt burden incurred when the company acquired Knight-Ridder Information in 1997.[15]

According to The Daily Telegraph, after the sale of Dialog, he "vowed to step out of the spotlight."[16]

Venda Enterprise e-commerce[edit]

Wagner founded Venda Inc in 1998, a provider of e-commerce software originally built using technology from the defunct company Boo.com.[8][17]


ATTRAQT is an e-commerce platform founded by Dan Wagner and Andre Brown in 2003. In 2014, ATTRAQT became available for trading on the AIM Market of the London Stock Exchange,[18][19] with an initial market capitalisation on Admission of approximately £10.3m,[20] based on a price of 50 pence per Ordinary Share on Admission. Wagner retired from his position as chairman of ATTRAQT in June 2016.[21]

Aigua Media[edit]

In 2007, Wagner acquired, through his Bright Station incubator, several fashion blogs from Shiny Media into a business entity called Aigua Media.[22]

Powa Technologies[edit]

In 2007 he also founded Powa Technologies, an e-commerce business based on Venda Inc's small business solution, but with additional services for in-store and mobile point of sale and software for mobile payments called PowaTag and PowaPOS, formerly known as mPowa. Wagner introduced PowaTag in 2014, after receiving more than $100 million in funding.[23] Users of the service could make purchases using QR codes, audio watermarks and iBeacons.[8][24]

In June 2014, Powa acquired Hong Kong based Znap in a shares-only deal valuing the combined entity at $2.6 billion.[25][26] The UK Prime Minister David Cameron praised Wagner for creating jobs.[27][28] However the merger saw a large number of UK employees have their employment terminated.[29] In December 2015 Wagner announced Powa had signed a deal with China UnionPay that would give Powa access to China UnionPay's 1.3 billion customers. China UnionPay sent a cease-and-desist letter after Wagner was quoted as saying 'We've trumped Apple Pay', pointing out "As matter of fact...our company has not yet established any business relationship with your company".[30][31]

In February 2016, the Financial Times reported Powa technologies had missed payments to staff and third parties,[32] two years after raising $175m investment, despite the investment, Powa was said to still be 'pre-revenue'. On 19 February 2016, Powa Technologies went into administration.[3]

After the collapse of Powa Technologies a series of articles by The Financial Times and the BBC called into question several claims that had been made by Dan Wagner during his tenure as CEO. Powa's self-proclaimed 2014 valuation of $2.6 billion was investigated and FT Alphaville concluded that £75 million was a more accurate figure.[2] Shortly before the collapse, Goldman Sachs had valued the business at $18 billion.[33][34] Most of the partners that Wagner claimed had signed deals with Powa were found to have instead signed Letters of Intent that did not carry any obligations.[31][35] In response to the criticism, Dan Wagner told Business Insider in August 2016, "Regarding the LOIs, they were contracts committing the merchants to use PowaTag for the charges specified on the rate card and adhering to the terms and conditions published on the Powa website."[36]


In early 2016, following the administration of Powa, Wagner was reported working on a new technology start-up called Rezolve.[37]


  1. ^ a b Wray, Richard (13 March 2010). "Portraits of the dotcom entrepreneurs". The Observer. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "So how much was Powa Technologies really worth?". ftalphaville.ft.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  3. ^ a b Powa Technologies appoints Deloitte as administrators
  4. ^ a b Andrew Davidson (2001-04-01). "The Andrew Davidson interview: Dan Wagner". Management Today. Retrieved 2017-01-16. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Bounds, Andrew (24 October 2012). "Dan Wagner - Lone Ranger with a Mass Target". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Gale, Adam (2015-08-13). "How did Powa's Dan Wagner do in his exams?". Management Today. Retrieved 2017-01-16. 
  7. ^ a b c Horsman, Mathew (11 August 1995). "How to make pounds 36m in 48 hours". The Independent. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Tripathi, Shruti (14 October 2013). "He floated his first company for £120m, aged 31. Now Powa CEO Dan Wagner says the UK doesn't get tech". Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Horsman, Mathew (11 August 1995). "MAID seeks £50m on NASDAQ". The Independent. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "He floated his first company for £120m, aged 31. Now Powa CEO Dan Wagner says the UK doesn't get tech". Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  11. ^ Goodley, Simon (17 December 2011). "Dan Wagner: from dotcom Dial-a-dog to Venda vendor". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Dialog signs multi million deal with Fujitsu". 
  13. ^ Blair hails new Dialog/Fujitsu Alliance
  14. ^ Griffith, Gabriella (2 October 2013). "Dan Wagner: 'Maybe I'm not the best person to run a public company.'". Management Today. 
  15. ^ "Dialog beset by demons of debt". The Observer. 26 June 1999. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "Wagner composes his return to public stage". The Telegraph. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Tyler, Richard (13 June 2010). "Venda's Dan Wagner to launch website venture". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  18. ^ Platt, Ryan (20 August 2014). "Dan Wagner founded Attraqt raises £1.25m in AIM IPO". 
  19. ^ "Attraqt Group plc First Day of Dealings". www.londonstockexchange.com. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Online Merchandiser ATTRAQT To Float On AIM". lse.co.uk. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "After all that Powa, another departure for Dan Wagner". 
  22. ^ Masson, Sarah (19 August 2009). "Shiny Media fashion blogs saved by investor". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Savage, Rachel (4 March 2014). "Dan Wagner Launches PowaTag Retail App". Management Today. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Burn-Callander, Rebecca (4 March 2014). "Retail revolution will be PowaTag-ged". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  25. ^ Daily Telegraph Powa Technologies valued at £1.6bn after acquisition
  26. ^ Dan Wagner's Powa Technologies worth £1.6 billion
  27. ^ Powa to create 250 UK jobs after major cash injection
  28. ^ US Investors back UK tech firm Powa to the tune of £48.5m
  29. ^ Tech darling's redundancies are "natural fallout" of hiring spree
  30. ^ "Shopping tech firm Powa in major Chinese Joint Venture". bbc.com. Retrieved 2015-12-16. 
  31. ^ a b "Powa: The start-up that fell to earth". 
  32. ^ Powa Technologies missed staff and contractor payments
  33. ^ Goldman Sachs said Powa was on a "clear path to a $50bn" valuation shortly before its collapse
  34. ^ Powa valued at $18bn shortly before collapse
  35. ^ "Would you have invested in Powa?". ftalphaville.ft.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  36. ^ Dan Wagner speaks up about Powa Technologies after silence
  37. ^ Williams-Grut, Oscar (20 April 2016). "Dan Wagner plots comeback with rezolve". Business Insider. 

External links[edit]