Nikola Labs

Will Zell Co-Founder and CEO

Case Study: Startup

Take the meeting.

Tell us about your company and your role.

I am the CEO and co-founder of Nikola Labs, a wireless power company launched in October 2014. Our technology converts radiofrequency energy into direct current power – basically taking you from Point A to Point B without wires.

Nikola Labs is a spinout from Ohio State University. Early on, we partnered with the University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) to build the initial prototypes for our products. We create wireless power solutions for customers within the Internet-of-Things (IOT) space. Our goal is to create a truly smart home with hundreds of sensors throughout, doing a number of important things. For example, imagine never having to replace a battery on your smoke detector. That’s what Nikola sees for the future.

How has Clarus R+D helped your business?

The kickoff process with Clarus was very clear. The Clarus team engaged with us and answered our questions. After the initial setup, Clarus did all the heavy lifting for us to deal with the intricacies surrounding how to claim the R&D tax credit. When every penny matters, Clarus helped us discover there is capital that is rightfully ours, and they made the process simple for us to capture it back through the R&D tax credit.

This credit, thanks to the help of the experts at Clarus, allows a company like Nikola Labs to capture money that we will reinvest into growth meaning more jobs and economic development.


How do you plan to use the R&D tax credit?

We will be pouring our $62K R&D tax credit right back into the building of the company. It speaks to the heart of why tax credits like these exist. This credit, thanks to the help of the experts at Clarus, allows a company like Nikola Labs to capture money that we will reinvest into growth, meaning more jobs and economic development.

What tips would you give other entrepreneurs?

What drives me most in business is the ability to create significant value for other people and humanity. As opposed to just being in business for making money, I have found that money follows value created.

Whatever your endeavor is, focus, dream about it, be passionate towards the value you are going to create for humanity, and let that be your true north. Let that be what guides you through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Any advice for prospective Clarus R+D customers?

Take the time to sit down and talk with the Clarus team. As a CEO you’re pulled in 30 different directions. Take the meeting. It’s worth your time. Within 5 minutes you will say yes, find out who will handle it in your organization, and the process runs from there. Their mission is to get money back into companies to foster growth. Let Clarus R+D do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your day-to-day operations.

Year Founded: 2014

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Focus: Wireless Power Solutions


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