One of Britain’s most colourful technology entrepreneurs is close to crystallising a stellar valuation for his latest venture – with the backing of British taxpayers.
Sky News has learnt that that Dan Wagner, whose previous company, Powa Technologies, collapsed in 2016, is finalising a $20m fundraising for Rezolve, a mobile commerce provider.
City sources said on Tuesday that Mr Wagner was lining up a number of new US-based investors as part of Rezolve’s latest fundraising, which is said to value it at $750m.
These are said to include an entity connected to the Lauder family behind the Estee Lauder cosmetics empire.
The government’s Future Fund, which was set up as part of the Treasury’s response to the pandemic last year, is also understood to be an investor in Rezolve.
Under the terms of the Future Fund, its interest in Mr Wagner’s company will convert into equity at a 20% discount to the valuation at which its capital-raising is taking place.
That means UK taxpayers will hold a small stake in Rezolve at a $600m valuation, which could pave the way for a future profit if the business is able to sustain its current momentum.
Rezolve describes itself as a provider of technology which “turns any mobile device into an instant transaction tool”.
It has struck partnerships in Korea and China, where it is now said to be generating significant revenue.
One investor said the latest fundraising is likely to lead to an attempt to take Rezolve onto the stock market in due course.
They described the current funding round as “a bridge to a prospective listing”.
Although such a move remains some way off, Rezolve’s latest capital-raising will provide a vindication of sorts to Mr Wagner, whose reputation was left severely tarnished by Powa’s collapse in 2016.
A spectacular falling out between Mr Wagner and Powa’s shareholders led to the commencement of bankruptcy proceedings before a settlement was reached in 2019.
The Rezolve founder has been a public figure for more than a quarter of a century, having floated Maid, an information company, in 1994 to become the youngest boss of a London-listed company.
In recent times, he has faced scrutiny over issues such as the overdue filing of accounts for companies with which he has been associated.
In Rezolve’s case, it is expected to file its 2019 numbers once they have been signed off under US accounting rules.
The company’s advisers include Justin King, the former J Sainsbury chief executive who is widely regarded as one of Britain’s most respected businessmen.
Mr Wagner declined to comment when contacted by Sky News on Tuesday.