In 2015, smack dab in the heart of the Oregon side of the Emerald Triangle in Medford, two of the co-founders at Halo Labs (Halo), Andreas Met and Phillip Van den Berg, fresh off of their split with Golden Leaf Holdings, started the company in a chicken coop with fellow co-Founder & CEO Kiran Sidhu. Met owned the property and the team was looking for a safe place to begin extracting with BHO technology. The coop fit the bill.
It made sense to the management team to start their business, which would focus on creating products based on stabilized oils using natural additives to maintain viscosity and terpenes for flavor and stability after experimenting with different extraction technologies (the team had also worked extensively with CO2), in the heart of the triangle. Raw materials of bio mass were cheap and readily available, and Medford had a favorable regulatory environment.
Sidhu told me that the team has found BHO extraction to be more efficient than CO2 but also likes the efficiency of CO2 in capturing terpenes. The Halo extraction team, which was the first to use high-speed centrifuges, has used several equipment suppliers to date including Precision and Extraction Tek; they have also found that the colder the method the better.
After starting-up in the coop and achieving success gaining product distribution in Rouge River Valley dispensaries, the team moved into a self-financed 16,000 sf facility in Medford which would allow them to manufacture at a scale fueling expansion for Halo to supply retailers in eastern Oregon as well. Halo also has its own 4 acre grow in Evan’s Creek, OR.
To date and according to BDS data, Halo claims to have captured 20% of the wholesale concentrates market in Oregon with their branded products and white label supplied products adding up to distribution in approximately 50% of the dispensaries in the state. Met, who spent years at Walmart, has found a sweet spot in contract manufacturing which will play well with their recent entry into California as well.
What struck me at first about Halo were the backgrounds of the management team. The team is composed of a group of seasoned professionals with extensive educational backgrounds and work experiences.
Ivy-leaguer Sidhu has an undergraduate degree from Brown University in Computer Sciences and an MBA from Wharton and as noted in his Linkedin profile, “is a seasoned cannabis executive, serial entrepreneur and former M&A banker. Prior to
cannabis, Mr. Sidhu was the Chairman, CEO and Founder of Transact Network, a European Union electronic money institution which was sold to Bancorp (NYSE:TBBK) in 2011. Kiran was previously the CFO of On Stage Entertainment (NASDAQ:ONST) which he help lead to a NASDAQ IPO. He previously worked at PwC in the strategic consulting group and with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets in M&A”.
Met, Halo’s COO and Compliance Officer, has an MBA from the University of Wisconsin. Van den Berg, Halo’s CFO, is an investment banker by training including a stint at Goldman Sachs and Chief Revenue Officer David Orr has an MBA from UCLA and years of blue-chip consumer package goods (CPG) experience with Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo. Chief Science Officer Dr. Valery Krasnoperov has a 30 year pedigree in biochemistry research and process implementation and runs the technology side of the business for Halo. The second largest shareholder in the company, Dr. Prakash Gill, is a renowned professor and scientist at the University of Southern California and has a strong history of clinical investigations and drug development.
With Gill’s help, the team has created proprietary precise dosing technology which they believe is a game-changer in the dabbing market.
The company’s go to market strategy, which now includes entry into Nevada and California as well, focusses on owning their own licenses. To date, they have licensed facilities in Medford, OR (6 licenses, 4 cultivation, 1 production and 1 wholesale) Las Vegas, NV (1 Cultivation and 1 production) and the recently licensed facility in Cathedral City, CA. The 1,800 sf CA facility was designed in a small space to minimize product movement on the floor, primarily for white label products. They have an additional 8,000 sf readily available for expansion to meet demand.
Halo expanded its business beyond Oregon with operations in NV in October 2018 and began processing in CA in November of 2018. To drive growth and distribution of their branded product line-up they complement their direct store delivery with strategic distributor partnerships. Through 2018, Halo has gained distribution for its proprietary brands Exhale, Black Hat, Mojave, and Hush across numerous dispensary chains in Oregon and Nevada, and also developed and delivered numerous private label brands for customers like Cannacopia.
In CA, Halo expects to begin generating revenue from their new facility by the first week of February 2019 from its wholesale supply relationship with Falcon International.
Halo expects to enter new states and is currently exploring opportunities in Florida and Massachusetts. Most states are on their radar screen with the exception of Colorado and Washington at this point due to ownership restrictions.
On the human capital front, Halo feels good about the experience of the senior management team but Sidhu acknowledges that they need to shore up their middle management ranks in 2019. On the immediate horizon, they are looking for sales people with CPG, Alcohol or Pharma backgrounds as well as a GM to run their expansion plans in Nevada which will focus on growing to extract. They are looking for a twenty acre site in the state as we publish.
Looking ahead to 2020, Sidhu expects that the liberalization of Canada’s oil restrictions will provide an attractive option for their product and service offerings and that Europe may be opening up by then as well. This past December, Halo announced it had signed a letter of intent to enter into a partnership with Bophelo Bioscience and Wellness Pty Ltd (“Bophelo Bioscience”), a Lesotho based cannabis company. According to their press release, Halo will provide management services and expertise to build, design and operate cGAP cultivation and cGMP extraction facilities in exchange for a 20% equity position in Bophelo Bioscience, as well as a royalty on future extracted products.
With a goal to be thought of as a low-cost, quality producer of extracted products, Halo will rely on their strength of process technology and product development and stick to the knitting of running a lean and hardworking team to serve retailers and their consumers in markets that they have become licensed in. As Sidhu told me, Halo has put a stake in the ground to pursue its manifest destiny and the blue-chip management’s “search for excellence” and financial success. Halo has come a long way in 3 short years, not bad for some guys that launched out of a chicken coop.
Cannabis Business Executive Background Information
Company Name: Halo Labs, Inc. (NEO: HALO)
Year Founded: 2016
Ownership structure/operating entities: Halo Labs, Inc. is 100% owner of ANM Inc, 100% owner of PSG Coastal Harvest LLC (CA), 100% owner of HLO Ventures (NV) LCC
Scott Paterson, Chairman
Kiran Sidhu, CEO
Andreas Met, COO & Compliance Officer
Philip Van Den Berg, CFO
David Orr, Chief Revenue Officer
Dr. Valery Krasnoperov, Chief Science Officer
Industry Segment/Category: Producer and Processor
Current Markets/States Served: Oregon, Nevada, California
Number of Locations: 4 facilities across 3 locations, Medford Oregon, Las Vegas Nevada, Cathedral City, California x 2
Number of Licenses by State:
- Oregon Six Licenses (4 Cultivation, 1 Production, 1 Wholesale)
- Nevada Two Licenses (1 Production 1 Cultivation)
- California One License
Current Number of employees: 122 employees of which 25 were recently hired for the harvesting (seasonal staff)
Market Strategy/Goal: Halo aspires to become a leader in US Cannabis extraction, developing and manufacturing leading oil and concentrates products.
2016 Revenues: ~$3.8 Million
2017 Revenues: ~$10.3 Million
2018 Revenue: ~$12 Million
Company Revenue Mix: Halo is gaining revenues from both company branded products like HUSH, Exhale, Blackhat, and Degenerates while also seeing a growth in their white labeling business which they expect to grow to over 50% of revenues in 2019.
- Launched in Nevada in October 2018 in 2000 square feet of 8000 square foot facility will expand into rest of facility in 2019
- Launched in California in November 2018 in first facility that is 1800 square feet, will launch in 2ndfacility in California in that is 7600 square feet in 2019
Financing strategy: Completed C$27MM financing as part of RTO listing in Canada.