Kian Capital Partners, a middle-market focused private investment firm, exited its investment in Driven Lighting Group (DLG) through a sale to Wheel Pros, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of proprietary-branded aftermarket vehicle enhancements for light trucks, SUVs, passenger cars and ATVs/UTVs. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Atlanta, DLG is a designer, marketer, influencer and online retailer of enthusiast automotive aftermarket lighting products. DLG has established brands, such as Morimoto, GTR Lighting and Profile Performance, and in-house product development capabilities.
“DLG has achieved incredible growth in partnership with Kian Capital over the past few years, expanding our online presence, innovating DTC marketing strategies, scaling our operational infrastructure and adding adjacent product offerings,” Brian Reese, CEO of DLG, said. “We’re excited to join the Wheel Pros organization and leverage their customer relationships, scale and operational footprint to further accelerate our growth. We’ve witnessed what they’ve been able to do in other adjacent categories, and we believe together we can rapidly grow lighting in the large enthusiast market.”
In March 2018, Kian completed its investment in DLG (formerly known as The Retrofit Source), investing behind the growing awareness and need for better lighting alternatives in the aftermarket. The Retrofit Source was founded in 2005 by Matt Kossoff. In 2019, the company completed two acquisitions, XenonDepot in January and Headlight Revolution in March, the latter of which was founded by Chris Nelson, who now serves at the company’s chief marketing officer. During Kian Capital’s three-and-a-half-year hold, DLG quintupled revenue and quadrupled EBITDA.
“We had a lot of opportunity and we needed a financial partner to fuel our growth and realize our lofty ambitions,” Kossoff said.
“Kian’s collaborative approach, strategic relationships in the auto aftermarket space and operational experience helped me navigate through significant growth and rapid change.” Nelson said. “In a short period of time, we’ve significantly built out our infrastructure, implemented key systems, grown our team and introduced our largest product class yet — it is incredible to see how far we’ve come.”
“DLG has shown outstanding performance since we first partnered with Matt Kossoff and the team, and we’re glad we were able to achieve an outcome the DLG team desired in terms of finding a home where they believe they can accelerate their rapid trajectory,” Rick Cravey, partner at Kian Capital, said. “This investment represents a perfect case study of what we do at Kian: provide first institutional capital to innovative entrepreneurs and then work closely with management teams to build out systems, teams and facilities and make acquisitions through thesis-driven growth strategies. We are proud to have partnered with DLG over this period of growth and look forward to following the company in its next chapter with Wheel Pros.”
VRA Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor and Robinson Bradshaw as legal advisor to DLG.