Vulcan Inc.

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Vulcan Inc.
Vulcan Inc. Logo.png
Formation1986; 33 years ago (1986)[1]
PurposePhilanthropy, Entertainment, Technology, Investments, Real Estate, Spaceflight, Arts
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington, United States
Area served
Key people
Bill Hilf, CEO
Jody Allen, co-founder
Formerly called
Vulcan Northwest

Vulcan Inc. is a privately held company controlled by the estate of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Established in 1986, Vulcan Inc. is headquartered on Fifth Avenue in Seattle, Washington.[2] Vulcan oversees Allen's business activities and philanthropic efforts, including the Seattle Seahawks, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Great Elephant Census, the Seattle Cinerama, and Stratolaunch Systems.

Vulcan Inc. Headquarters

Areas of focus[edit]

Vulcan Real Estate[edit]

Vulcan's Real Estate division offers development and portfolio management services from site selection and urban planning to build-to-suit construction. Vulcan has developed 6.6 million square feet of new residential, office, retail and biotechnology research space and has a total development capacity of 10,000,000 square feet (930,000 m2).[3]

Vulcan Real Estate redeveloped the South Lake Union neighborhood north of downtown Seattle and along the south shore of Lake Union. More than $5.7 billion has been invested in the neighborhood since 2002 for development projects and public infrastructure improvements.

Vulcan advocated for the Seattle Streetcar line known as South Lake Union Streetcar, which runs from Seattle's Westlake Center to the south end of Lake Union.[citation needed] This development has been criticized as a city-supported real estate investment for Vulcan Inc.,[4] and concerns over the loss of low-income housing have been expressed.[citation needed].

In 2012, The Wall Street Journal called Allen's South Lake Union investment "unexpectedly lucrative" and one that led to his firm selling a 1,800,000 square feet (170,000 m2) office complex to for US$1.16 billion, one of the most expensive office deals ever in Seattle.[5] "It's exceeded my expectations," Mr. Allen said of the South Lake Union development.

In September 2014, Vulcan made a commitment to invest $200 million at Yesler Terrace where it would purchase three land parcels from the Seattle Housing Authority as part of an ambitious redevelopment plan for the 30-acre low-income housing site located southeast of downtown Seattle.[6]

Vulcan Capital[edit]

Formed in 2003, Vulcan Capital is the multibillion-dollar investment arm of Vulcan and is headquartered in Seattle with an additional office in Palo Alto.[7] Vulcan Capital invests in both private and public companies with a focus on making investments of $10 million to $100 million or more in companies mirroring the philanthropic approach of Paul Allen and Vulcan Inc. 4INFO, Alibaba Group, Charter Communications, DreamWorks, Magic Leap, Redfin and Tri Alpha Energy, Inc. are among the companies Vulcan Capital has invested in.[8][9] Vulcan Capital's CEO is Jo Allen Patton.[10]

Vulcan Arts + Entertainment[edit]

Vulcan Arts + Entertainment launched in 2017 and is guided by Allen’s vision of investing in the region. The portfolio includes Upstream Music Fest + Summit, Seattle Art Fair, Seattle Cinerama, and The Hospital Club (h Club London and h Club LA). VA+E also represents museums including Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum and Living Computers: Museum + Labs.

The Hospital Club[edit]

In 2002, Paul Allen reopened the doors of the old St. Paul's Hospital in London's Covent Garden neighborhood, revealing a new 60,000-square-foot creative hub, providing a professional and social hub to those working in the film, television, music, advertising, contemporary art and design, publishing and journalism, interactive media, theatre and fashion industries.[11]


  • The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum displays Paul G. Allen's collection of rare military aircraft, tanks and other military hardware from the United States, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The Collection opened to the public in 2004 at the Arlington, Washington airfield, moving in 2008 to a hangar at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.[12] Several weeks after Allen's death in 2018, the museum opened a larger hanger to preserve related stories.[13]
  • The Living Computers: Museum + Labs (LCM+L) Is a computer and technology museum located in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. LCM+L (originally known as Living Computer Museum, and before that, was founded by Paul Allen, on January 9, 2006.
  • The Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP (previously called EMP Museum, Is a nonprofit museum dedicated to contemporary popular culture. It was founded by Paul Allen in 2000 as the Experience Music Project. Since that time MoPOP has organized dozens of exhibits, 17 of which have toured across the US and internationally.
  • The Seattle Art Fair displays modern and contemporary art and is a showcase for the arts community of the Pacific Northwest.
  • The Upstream Music Fest + Summit is a three-day music festival.

Vulcan Sports and Entertainment[edit]

Established in 2007, Vulcan Sports and Entertainment (VSE) provides strategic oversight for Allen's professional sports franchises including the Portland Trail Blazers, the Seattle Seahawks and manages CenturyLink Field, WaMu Theater, the Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Portland, Oregon). In the fall of 2018, Chris McGowan was named CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment after Peter McLoughlin left the Seahawks.[15]


Allen Brain Atlas

Both the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence were incubated at Vulcan Inc. Started at Vulcan Inc. in 2001, the Allen Brain Atlas project sought to understand the connections between genes and brain functioning. From the project’s research, Paul Allen created the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003 with a $100 million donation.[16]

Project Halo came next. The project ran from 2002 to 2013, with the goal of creating a "digital Aristotle" that can correctly answer queries about scientific information, using artificial intelligence. The project led to a number of spinoff technologies, including the wiki software bundle SMW+, the Semantic Inferencing on Large Knowledge (SILK) project[17] and the Automated User-Centered Reasoning and Acquisition System (AURA).[18] From Project Halo’s results, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence was created.[19]

Vulcan Productions[edit]

Vulcan Productions produces films, digital programs and outreach initiatives. Its programs have won awards including the George Foster Peabody Award, the Emmy Award, and the Grammy Award.[20][21]


Vulcan, Inc. has also directly led some technology projects. Vulcan Spectrum, a branch of Vulcan, Inc., participated in the United States 2008 wireless spectrum auction, paying $69 million for "A Block" spectrum in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area, and $43.6 million for "A Block" spectrum in Portland-Salem.[22]

In 2003, Vulcan began developing the Vulcan FlipStart, a subnotebook with a 5.6-inch screen. The company began to manufacture and sell the FlipStart in March 2007, and ceased production in May 2008.[23]


In 2014, Vulcan Inc. partnered with Elephants Without Borders to secure a $7.3 million grant to conduct the Great Elephant Census.[24] The census was designed to provide accurate and up-to-date data about the number and distribution of African elephants by using standardized aerial surveys of thousands of square miles. Prior to the survey, many countries had not conducted surveying flights in as many as 10 years. Dozens of researchers flying in small planes captured comprehensive observational data of elephants and elephant carcasses.[25] The census was completed in 2016, finding that elephant populations had declined by as much as 30 percent over the previous seven years as a result of poaching.[26]

In February 2016, Allen announced that Vulcan would donate $2 million in grants to stop the spread of the Zika virus.[27] Most of the funds went to mosquito control efforts in countries where the virus was quickly spreading, while the remainder was used to fund a diagnostic test.[28]


  1. ^ "About - Vulcan". Archived from the original on August 9, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Company Overview of Vulcan Inc., Bloomberg
  3. ^ "About Us - Vulcan Real Estate". Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  4. ^ "Venture Capital: Airplanes ... to antibodies".
  5. ^ "Amazon to pay Vulcan $1.16B for headquarters campus in South Lake Union - Puget Sound Business Journal". Puget Sound Business Journal. October 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Vulcan to buy three blocks in Yesler Terrace". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  7. ^ "Paul Allen's Vulcan Capital expanding to Silicon Valley". April 1, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  8. ^ "Vulcan Capital | Crunchbase". Crunchbase. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  9. ^ "Vulcan Capital Provides Seed to TriLinc for Global Impact Investments". Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Company Overview of Vulcan Capital, Bloomberg
  11. ^ "The Hospital Club".
  12. ^ [ Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, Vulcan
  13. ^ Caleb Hutton, November 18, 2018, Vintage war machines live on at Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage, HeraldNet
  14. ^ Mudede, Charles. "If the New Cinerama Can't Save Movie Theaters, Nothing Can". The Stranger. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  15. ^ "Peter McLoughlin out as Seahawks president and CEO in organizational restructuring". The Seattle Times. September 24, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  16. ^ Weintraub, Arlene. "Paul Allen Just Made His Biggest Step Yet To Map The Human Brain". Forbes. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  17. ^ "The SILK Project: Semantic Inferencing on Large Knowledge".
  18. ^ "Automated User-Centered Reasoning and Acquisition System". Artificial Intelligence Center. SRI International. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  19. ^ Brandom, Russell (October 24, 2013). "Paul Allen and the Machines: teaching the next generation of artificial intelligence". Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  20. ^ "Vulcan Productions".
  21. ^ "Vulcan Productions".
  22. ^ "Verizon Gets the "C" Block -".
  23. ^ Is FlipStart closing up shop?, Joshua Topolsky, Engadget, May 4, 2008
  24. ^ "How Paul Allen's $7 Million and Big Data Are Combating Africa's Elephant Crisis". Mashable. October 31, 2014.
  25. ^ "Great Elephant Census". Great Elephant Census.
  26. ^ "Paul Allen's Great Elephant Census Confirms Catastrophic Decline in Africa". GeekWire. August 31, 2016.
  27. ^ "Paul Allen Giving $2 Million in Effort to Help Fight Zika Virus Outbreak". GeekWire. February 19, 2016.
  28. ^ "Philanthropist Paul Allen Announces $2 Million in Grants for Zika Diagnostic, Mosquito Control". The Washington Post. February 19, 2016.

External links[edit]