Dan Wagner

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For the basketball player, see Danny Wagner.
Dan Wagner
Dan Wagner - UK Tech Entrepreneur.jpg
Born Dan Wagner
(1963-07-28) 28 July 1963 (age 52)
Edgware, Middlesex, England
Nationality British
Occupation Businessman
Known for MAID, Venda Inc, Powa Technologies
Net worth Increase £1 billion or more[1]

Daniel Maurice Wagner (born 28 July 1963) is a British Internet entrepreneur. He is best known for being one of the youngest CEOs of a public company, Dialog (originally known as MAID), and for presiding over its share price collapse during the dot-com crash and ultimate sale to Thomson Reuters (originally The Thomson Corporation).[2]

In his youth, Wagner got a job working for an advertising agency. There he came up with the idea of creating an information database on businesses as a resource for marketers. He created MAID, which provided these services in 1984. Afterwards he continued to invest in and run internet technology companies, such as Venda, Powa and Bright Station.

Early life[edit]

Wagner was born in Edgware, Middlesex.[citation needed] He is the youngest of two children of John and Yaffa Wagner, who was a motor industry businessman.[citation needed] He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood and University College School, London.[citation needed] His father was a managing director at BMW.[3]

Wagner dropped out of school when he was sixteen years old to work as a shop assistant for entrepreneur Julian Richer at Richer Sounds.[3] 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.[3]


Wagner quit his job at the ad agency[3] and founded the online information company MAID (Market Analysis Information Database) in 1984, when he was 21 years old.[4] The company grew quickly[2] and obtained a 26 percent market-share.[3] 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."[5] The company went public on the stock market in 1994 and was renamed to Dialog.[3] It was also listed on NASDAQ in 1995.[6] In August 1995, Wagner earned 36 million in two days after a 300 percent increase in share values, prompted by a partnership with Microsoft.[4] Wagner became well known for becoming a CEO of a public company in his 20s[4] and for presiding over the company's share price decline in the dot-com crash.[7]

Share values in Dialog dropped 95 percent[4] during the dot-com crash[2] and the company was sold to Thomson for $500 million in 2000.[2] Wagner blamed the drop in share-value in-part to the press. He had a public confrontation with The Financial Times after they referred to Dialog as "dial a dog."[4] 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.[4] The company had also fallen into debt due to the poor performance of its Knight-Ridder acquisition.[8]

Wagner remained on the board of MAID until 2001 and founded Venda Inc later that year.[2] Venda Inc is provider of ecommerce software originally built using technology from the defunct company Boo.com.[3][7] Wagner had acquired Boo.com for £250,000 in 2000 after the dot-com crash.[9]

According to The Telegraph, after the sale of Dialog, he "vowed to step out of the spotlight."[10] In 2007, Wagner acquired, through his Bright Station incubator, several fashion blogs from Shiny Media into a business entity called Aigua Media.[11]

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.[12] Users of the service can make purchases using QR codes, audio watermarks and iBeacons.[2][13]

In June 2014, Powa acquired Hong Kong based Znap in a shares only deal valuing the combined entity at $2.6 billion.[14][15] The UK Prime Minister David Cameron praised Wagner for creating jobs.[16][17] However the merger saw a large number of UK employees have their employment terminated [18]

Business holdings[edit]

Wagner operates his various business interests from a holding company called Bright Station. Bright Station has revenues of $50 million and employs 450 staff.[3] As of 2012, the holding company controls ecommerce and web-publishing service, Powa, and Locayta (rebranded to ATTRAQT in 2014), a service for promoting retail websites in search engines. It also controls a fashion blog site Aigua and the shopping service Osoyou.com, among others.[3]


  1. ^ Dan Wagner's Powa Technologies is now worth 1.6 billion pounds
  2. ^ a b c d e f 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. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bounds, Andrew (24 October 2012). "Dan Wagner - Lone Ranger with a Mass Target". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Horsman, Mathew (11 August 1995). "How to make pounds 36m in 48 hours". The Independent. Retrieved 28 June 2014.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "two" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ Wray, Richard (13 March 2010). "Portraits of the dotcom entrepreneurs". The Observer. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Horsman, Mathew (11 August 1995). "MAID seeks £50m on NASDAQ". The Independent. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Goodley, Simon (17 December 2011). "Dan Wagner: from dotcom Dial-a-dog to Venda vendor". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Dialog beset by demons of debt". The Observer. 26 June 1999. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Tyler, Richard (13 June 2010). "Venda's Dan Wagner to launch website venture". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Wagner composes his return to public stage". The Telegraph. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Masson, Sarah (19 August 2009). "Shiny Media fashion blogs saved by investor". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Savage, Rachel (4 March 2014). "Dan Wagner Launches PowaTag Retail App". Management Today. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Burn-Callander, Rebecca (4 March 2014). "Retail revolution will be PowaTag-ged". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Daily Telegraph Powa Technologies valued at £1.6bn after acquisition
  15. ^ Dan Wagner's Powa Technologies worth £1.6 billion
  16. ^ Powa to create 250 UK jobs after major cash injection
  17. ^ US Investors back UK tech firm Powa to the tune of £48.5m
  18. ^ Tech darling's redundancies are "natural fallout" of hiring spree