The £1.8 billion London tech unicorn that went bust has let go of a lot of staff

Powa Technologies, the London payments business once valued at £1.8 billion, has laid off a large number of European staff, Business Insider understands.

One source close to the company told Business Insider that most of Powa’s European sales staff have been let go since Deloitte came in as administrators on Friday. A second source close to the administrative process confirmed that staff have been let go.

The exact number of staff let go is not clear but Powa employs 311 globally. A source close to the company estimated up to 100 people could have been let go.

Powa has raised over $200 million since 2013 but on Friday appointed Deloitte as administrators after its biggest investor Wellington Management called in loans. Powa had just $250,000 in the bank at the start of February to cover debts of $16.4 million.

Despite the huge sums invested in Powa, which has partnered with the likes of Adidas and L’Oreal, CEO and founder Dan Wagner told staff in a video that the company was “basically pre-revenue,” according to a video seen by the Financial Times. A company that Powa paid $75 million (£52.5 million) in shares for had just £120 in revenue in the year it was bought.

Powa makes point-of-sale terminals for retailers as well as payment apps for consumers and other payment products. It has offices around the world.

Thompson Investments, the vehicle headed up by former QPR chairman Richard Thompson, on Friday released a statement saying they are buying Powa. The Financial Times reports that this statement was made without the knowledge of administrators Deloitte.

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