LAUNCHPAD: Dan Wagner launches PowaTag retail app

The dot com crash's best known survivor wants to build Britain's Google after raising a record $100m in seed funding.

by Rachel Savage

Powa Technologies, the start-up created by serial entrepreneur Dan Wagner, has finally unveiled retail app PowaTag, after raising $96.7m (£58m) in the last seven months.

Wagner claimed he is building ‘the greatest technology company of all time’, telling the Telegraph that Powa Technologies would be ‘Britain’s first potential Google or Facebook’. The entrepreneur hasn’t made a bad start – his fundraising is the biggest seed round ever.

PowaTag combines QR codes, one-touch mobile payments and audio watermark technology to let customers buy things from a window when a store is closed or when they are watching an advert, and will also let shops send information to browsing customers via bluetooth.

Reebok, Adidas, Universal Music and French supermarket giant Carrefour are among 240 retailers that have signed up to the technology. Wagner is playing the publicity field, planning to release the rest of the names in dribs and drabs every week. PowaTag will charge the companies the greater of 25p or 10 basis points per transaction.

Wagner has been tight-lipped about how much of Powa Technologies he has sold and who the investors are, although Tech Crunch said the first $76m was from Boston-based Wellington Management, citing ‘well-placed sources’.

The entrepreneur told MT in October that he planned to float the company within 18 months, but would be joining Candy Crush maker King, which is listing in New York, in eschewing the London Stock Exchange.

However, Wagner won’t be donning the duck waistcoat he wore to a media photocall for the flotation of his previous company MAID in 1994, which was blamed for wiping 10p of the share price (he also had a public spat with the FT, when it started referring to the renamed Dialog as ‘Dial-a-dog’).

Wagner has also mooted moving from the role of chief exec to chairman after an IPO and purposefully shunning Shoreditch for the Heron Tower (admittedly two minutes away from the hipster environs). MT hopes his head doesn’t get stuck up in the clouds up on floors 34 and 35…

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