Dan Wagner, founder and chief executive of Powa Technologies, was among the directors removed from the company's board as the embattled e-commerce software business entered administration.
According to documents lodged with Companies House, Wagner, deputy chairman Anthony Sharp, non-executive director Ivor Dunbar, and David Stirling, who is also understood to have been a non-executive director, had their appointments terminated on 19 February, two days after the company had appointed Deloitte as administrators.
On the same day Companies House confirmed Powa had just over £175,000 (€226,200, $246,000) available in its bank account with debts totalling £11.5m, despite having raised approximately £122m, and was forced to enter administration putting the jobs of its 300 worldwide employees at risk.
A few days later, on 23 February, the company confirmed 72 of its 144 UK-based employees had been made redundant before Deloitte completed the sale of two Powa divisions on 3 March, saving 69 jobs.
Powa's demise comes as a crushing blow for Wagner, who, as recently as April 2015, said he would build the firm he founded in 2007 into the 'biggest tech company in living memory'. Wagner's bold claim came less than a year after the London-listed company had completed the purchase of Hong Kong outfit MPayMe in an all-share deal, which valued the enlarged company at approximately £1.6bn.
Prime Minister David Cameron had publicly praised the company for creating 250 jobs after securing funds worth £48.5m, which Powa planned to spend on six new offices in Europe and five in the US.
"In 12 to 18 months, we will either go public or take on a [second round of funding]," Wagner said at the time.
"We received the $76m in return for a minority equity stake – less than 25%."
The British entrepreneur, who founded his first company when he was only 21 and saw the group float on the stock market a decade later, was adamant the funds raised placed Powa in a very exclusive club.
"Even in Silicon Valley, only about three companies every five years receive this kind of growth capital. Facebook raised only $500,000 in its [first funding round]," he said.
"It's not private equity and it's not venture capital and I have retained complete operational control," Wagner added. "I could write a cheque for $30m tomorrow with full autonomy. I have no constraints – it's an entrepreneur's dream."
Within two years, that dream had turned into a nightmare and Wagner was forced to admit the company was "pre-revenue" after Powa missed salaries' deadline in January. In a video message to employers, which was seen by the Financial Times on 16 February, Wagner explained the company was "missing or late with staff payments and salaries".
"As we go forward from here that revenue will start to flow in meaningful ways but right now it isn't," he added. However, unfortunately for the 52-year-old, that prediction did not turn into reality and he was removed from the board a few days later.
Powa's drastic downturn in fortune, however, did not come as a surprise to former chief financial officer (CFO) Steven Prowse, who launched a scathing attack on the company's executive late last month.
Prowse, who held the role of CFO for three months in 2014, published a post on LinkedIn entitled: "No surprise at Powa", in which he severely criticised the company's management.
"The staff were excellent, but the management were the worst I've seen in over 30 years," he wrote. "Breathtakingly immature and bipolar," adding that "Dan Wagner is just a salesman obsessed with image — mainly his own."