Effective March 31, 2022, and formally announced on April 12, Hall Technologies has received an additional equity investment by Michigan-based Gun Lake Investments (GLI) the non-gaming economic development arm of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, or Gun Lake Tribe. GLI's CEO, Monica King, now serves as a chairperson on the board of Hall Technologies.
Before the acquisition, Hall Technologies had been on a steady growth path since 2018, when Blackford Capital acquired the majority stake in what was then known as Hall Research. Upon the retirement of Hall's founder, Ali Haghjoo, in 2020, Jason Schwartz joined the company as CEO. In 2021 Schwartz led the rebranding of the company to Hall Technologies, established a new leadership team of Matt Kingsley as CFO, and industry veterans Hal Truax as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Ken Eagle as the Vice President of Technology, and launched a suite of products based on its new HIVE Cloud Control, an IoT-based control platform.
The Hall Technologies team and product roadmap will continue under the new ownership. Schwartz said that the combination of the new leadership team and company roadmap, which is heavily based on the rollout of HIVE and other collaboration products, made the all-in acquisition attractive to GLI. While the details are private, the cash infusion enables the Hall team to grow the company and go to market exponentially faster.
Exponentially Faster Growth
The acquisition adds substantial resources to Hall Technologies. GLI’s approach to investments is unique relative to other private equity investors – their people-first mantra and long-term approach align well with Hall’s strategy and culture.
Wasting no time, April 19-22, Hall will be exhibiting at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention (opens in new tab) hosted by National Indian Gaming Association (opens in new tab) (NIGA) and held at the Anaheim Convention Center. The 35-year-old show is the largest gathering of tribal leaders and casino executives in the country. "I've walked that show before," said Hall's Truax. "It's an incredibly great place for AV companies because venues are always upgrading and adding more digital signage elements. The plethora of audio-visual driven applications common to entertainment venues and in hospitality plays into Hall's strengths," said Truax.
While the digital signage and hospitality market was already part of the Hall roadmap, Truax said, "this moves gaming up to the near term in our roadmap."
Building on a Solid Base
With an aggressive product roadmap and expansion in mind, in December 2021, Hall moved its headquarters to Dallas.
Hall already has a presence in corporate, education, and healthcare. Truax explained that not many are aware of Hall's depth in the healthcare market. "Anywhere that reliable 24/7/365 extension of video is required, the Hall products are there, such as ICU patient monitoring and X-ray telemetry."
Building on Hall's strong 38 years of product innovation, several new product announcements have been made, including the all-in-one Apollo Technology Room Kit and the VERSA 4K video over IP solution. "The infinitely scalable VERSA 4K is sure to see an increased presence in the digital signage market," Truax said. "These solutions have been rock-solid, and adding HIVE provides a great control mechanism for video walls," he added.
"We could have continued to grow our HIVE product roadmap slowly," Schwartz said, "There is a need for what we developed, and it's differentiated significantly from what our competitors can do— the time is now for us to advance."
Schwartz said that the synergies were significant between what is already in the Hall portfolio, its continued development of Hive, and the GLI relationships and background. "The best way to explain it is that we are now a fully fuel-injected sports car poised to accelerate," he concluded.