While the eyes of the world are focused on the global competition in London at the moment, it’s still quite rare to hear of English start-up entrepreneurs able to successfully compete globally with the Yanks. But one London based entrepreneur who might buck this trend is Dan Wagner, the founder of the successful publishing platform M.A.I.D and the current chairman of Bright Station Ventures. Indeed, his latest ecommerce venture, mPowa, has been in the news recently because of accusations from Jack Dorsey’s Square that Wagner’s mPowa has been copying Square’s images in their promotional material. But when I sat down with Wagner in his central London office, he not only rejected the idea that mPowa had borrowed anything from Square but he told me that American entrepreneurs are “slightly parochial” in their approach to the increasingly global Internet marketplace.
Wagner’s ambitious play with mPowa and with Powa, the technology that powers it, is as an international payments platform specifically designed to conform to the needs of local merchants around the world. And while Jack Dorsey announced earlier this month that he intends to take Square international, Wagner remains confident that mPowa is a technological device much more suited to non-U.S. markets. That said, Wagner acknowledged to me that the English digital ecosystem lags behind Silicon Valley. What’s missing, he confessed to me, are angels able to write checks to fund start-ups from scratch. And until this changes, he said, the eyes of the world will always be focused on the U.S. when it comes to successful innovation in digital start-ups.