Powa Technologies Ltd., the London-based mobile payments startup, has a new owner after running out of funds earlier this month.
The company will continue operations under the umbrella of Thompson Investments, a vehicle headed by Richard Thompson, said Powa CEO Dan Wagner, who has overseen a series of series of deals with retailers and payments operators around the world while running Powa.
Thompson didn’t disclose terms of the deal, but he expressed faith in Powa’s existing management team and interest in PowaTag, the QR code-based technology launched in 2014 enabling consumers to scan bar codes printed on products or marketing materials to get information or access checkout pages on web sites. “I am looking forward to building on the momentum that [PowaTag] has created over the last two years,” Thompson said in a press release.
The Powa shakeup surfaced last week when the company’s largest investor, Wellington Management, called in loans after Powa reportedly missed payments to employees and suppliers. Powa appointed Deloitte to explore its options, and Thompson Investments on Feb. 19 announced a deal to buy the company.
Wagner founded Powa Technologies in 2007 and raised about $175M altogether, primarily from Wellington, and operated from offices in London, New York, Spain, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and South Korea. Retailers including Argos, JD Sports, Laura Ashley, Adidas and L’Oreal have used PowaTag technology.
Prior to launching PowaTag, Powa offered mobile point-of-sale technology via a smartphone-based card reader. Beginning in Europe, Powa expanded its mobile payments services to the U.S. in 2012,positioning itself as a competitor to Square, Intuit and iZettle.
Dan Wagner was previously chairman at Bright Station Ventures, a startup incubator specializing in e-commerce technologies. Venda, a mobile e-commerce platform Bright Station developed, was sold to NetSuite in 2014.