A Wikipedia user who has only edited the page of Dan Wagner, the founder and CEO of bust tech unicorn Powa Technologies, made edits last week that play down the recent collapse of his business.
A user by the name of Techtrek, which appears to have been active on Wikipedia since June 2009, has only edited the page of Dan Wagner since joining, making 100 edits or comments related to the page. Many of the edits cluster around June in 2009, 2013, and 2014.
But the account has popped up again recently to make edits on Wagner’s page. On March 5, the account made two edits that scrubbed a reference to the failure of Powa and increased Wagner’s estimated wealth.
The first edit, seen below, removed a reference to “serial bankruptcy” in relation to Powa Technologies. Instead it said Wagner is known for “consistently anticipating technology trends.” Business Insider is not aware of any other bankruptcies Wagner is connected to.
The second March 5 edit changes Wagner’s estimated wealth from around £1 million to £1 billion, citing a recent Management Today interview. That change appears to be a reverse of an earlier change made by the user.
Ben Holmes, a partner at venture capital fund Index Ventures, first pointed out the recent Wagner Wikipedia edits on Twitter.
Historical edits by Techtrek also paint Wagner and his businesses in a positive light, scrubbing a reference to redundancies, negative reviews on anonymous employee review website Glassdoor, and removing an entry claiming Wagner had been forced to step down as CEO after administrators came in. The company has made no official statement on Wagner’s status as CEO. Wagner did not respond to an email or call from BI requesting comment on the edits and has not been responding since Deloitte came in as administrators. Deloitte, which now acts and speaks for Powa Technologies, did not immediately respond to comment.
The Techtrek account has in the past also added a reference of praise from Tony Blair for a deal Wagner struck with Fujitsu in 1997 and edited the page to describe Wagner as an “extraordinary salesman.”
It’s not clear who is behind the Techtrek account. As a registered user, only Wikipedia admins can see its IP address, which would give at least some indication of where in the world the user was based.
Techtrek has been flagged multiple times by other Wikipedia users for what they see as unfair edits on the Wagner entry. The account is in an “edit war” with other users, according to Wikipedia, and users have accused the account of being linked to Wagner and “deliberately attempting to compromise [sic] Wikipedias integrity.”
One user complained on June 21 2014: “Yet again you have undertaken a massive revert of the Dan Wagner page without any justification or trying to engage others editing the page. Can you explain why you removed so much sourced material?”
In response to claims of bias, Techtrek wrote in June 2014: “I can confirm that I do not work for Mr Wagner nor am I retained by him or advise him. I am simply an admirer.” Techtrek also accused other editors of unfair bias and being disgruntled former employees.
Powa Technologies, which makes payment apps, online shops, and payment terminals, was once valued at $2.7 billion (£1.8 billion) and raised at least $220 million from investors over the last three years. But the company collapsed into administration last month after running out of money. Accounts show it had just $250,000 at the start of February and debts of $16.4 million.
75 staff have so far been made redundant while an estimated 160 international employees of Powa remain “in limbo”“, without clarity about their future.