Provo’s Hall Labs
Located in Provo, Hall Labs is a 130-acre innovation campus with a tradition of pioneering technological advancement going back to 1955. It started with founder and Utah native Tracy Hall’s creation of the artificial diamond, whose applications are still widely used today.
Hall Labs works to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems ranging from sustainability and the Internet of Things to personal transportation and AI. It uniquely brings together in one location all of the resources needed to grow new technology from start to finish.
Hall Labs is a waste-free invention city where materials are reused, and there is plenty of kinetic creativity. While touring the campus, I wouldn’t have been surprised to meet a reincarnated Leonardo Da Vinci.
Keep On Inventing
But what makes Hall Labs truly unique is its ability to “increase dividends for shareholders with new tech,” said Ty Foster, director of investor relations. “We want to keep inventing and taking things to the next level.”
Foster’s role is educating people about Hall Labs’ processes, its history and efficiencies. Hall Labs fills a specific “exits and R&D” niche where everything starts with excitement about ideas, he said. This became clear the moment I walked into the Vanderhall Motor Works showroom, gleaming with three-wheeled auto-cycles whose compact roadster appeal is featured in media outlets from Petrolicious to MotorTrend and Forbes.
After the excitement, the next step in the development of ideas at Hall Labs is finding out if, once an idea is developed into a marketable product, it can exist as a company with enough spin-off market to generate a hundred million dollars. “After that, you start developing,” said Foster.
Traditional private equity bets on the future of an idea or concept, along with the promise of a huge payout on that investment. Instead of using typical money from venture capitalists, Hall Labs uses its own.
“Most companies can’t increase dividends for shareholders with new tech just like that, but we can,” said Foster. “We do that within our own company as an incubator for our portfolio companies. We keep moving forward because we do R&D with an abundance mindset, and leverage our exits with notes, which allows us to move very fast on new ideas. We facilitate an open line of communication in search of the truth, to create something powerful enough people will buy,” said Foster. “When you live your genius, you’re changing the world.”
As with Edison Labs of yesteryear, there’s always something going on at Hall Labs. Many of its portfolio companies appeared at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including Vanderhall, GarageSmart, MySmartBlinds, and Sure-Fi.
On my way out, Ty introduced me to Hall Labs CEO, Michael Hall, who said, “One principle the Hall family is committed to is continuous reinvestment. We are driven to succeed so we have resources to develop the next idea. Our pursuit is the disruption of the status quo to benefit mankind.”