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The ex-CEO of collapsed $2.7 billion startup Powa has recruited a former UK ambassador to his new startup

The ex-CEO of collapsed $2.7 billion startup Powa has recruited a former UK ambassador to his new startup

Dan Wagner, the entrepreneur behind collapsed commerce startup Powa, has persuaded a former UK ambassador to join the board of his new venture Rezolve.

Sir David Wright is a former ambassador to Japan and South Korea, and said in a statement that he had known Wagner while a diplomat in Tokyo in the 1990s.

Wright's appointment follows former Sainsbury's CEO Justin King taking a stake in Rezolve and becoming an advisor to the startup.

Wagner described the news as "ticking a box", indicating that the appointments would bolster Rezolve's reputation.

Read more: A 'nonsense' valuation of $1 billion, a failed sale to Snap, and an investor fight: Inside Blippar's dramatic collapse

The British entrepreneur has a colourful history when it comes to tech startups. His previous startup, Powa, claimed to be worth $2.7 billion and collapsed spectacularly in 2016 after swallowing up $200 million of investors' money. Insiders detailed reckless spending, mismanagement, and lavish parties to Business Insider at the time. Wagner has never explained in depth how the business went off the rails to the extent it did, but professed ignorance as to the extent of Powa's woes.

He launched Rezolve a few months after Powa's collapse. Its offering appears to be similar to Powa's, offering various ways for brands to make it easier for people to make purchases on mobile. Late last year, Wagner made a bid for another collapsed would-be unicorn, augmented reality startup Blippar, to build out Rezolve's business. That bid was unsuccessful and a Blippar investor, property developer Nick Candy, snapped up the firm instead.

Wright said in a statement: "I was struck by his energy as a young man and naturally we were keen to assist his activities in Japan. Thereafter we have remained in touch and I have seen his commitment and innovative spirit which he shows in seeking to penetrate the global marketplace for digital platforms."

He added: "He is keen to build on the company's success in Asia and if there is any way in which I, given my long experience of the region with fluency in Japanese and Korean, can assist him, I am keen to do so."

According to Rezolve's most recently filed accounts, the business lost $4.5 million before tax in 2017 on revenue of $1.3 million. That was up on a loss of $2.5 million the prior year. Rezolve also revealed that it had made a number of accounting errors in its 2016 statement, including mistakes in its share capital figures and reporting its results in sterling, not dollars. Wagner told The Times at the time that the errors were "just minor edits."