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Abry Partners brings Smart Start to market

Jefferies is conducting the process for the Detroit-based business, which makes, sells, monitors and installs tech-enabled ignition interlock and alcohol monitoring devices.

Abry Partners has launched a sale process for Smart Start, a technology provider that prevents intoxicated drivers from operating a vehicle, sources familiar with the process told PE Hub.

Jefferies is advising the company on the process, which recently kicked off, the sources said.

Smart Start, based in Dallas, is a leading provider of ignition interlock devices and alcohol monitoring devices for the correctional services industry. The company manufactures, installs, monitors and services ignition interlock devices, utilizing technologies that include GPS tracking and cameras.

Smart Start serves two types of clients: drivers who install the ignition interlock on their vehicles for court-ordered supervision, license reinstatement or voluntary monitoring; and the judicial system or DMV division that mandates and monitors use of the Ignition Interlock on the vehicle of a DWI or DUI offender.

The company, founded in 1992, operates both corporate and franchise locations in 46 states throughout the US, and has an international footprint spanning 18 countries.

Smart Start generates around $70 million in EBITDA and around $160 million in revenue, some of the sources said.

For Abry Partners, the sale process comes after a six-year hold, having acquired the business in August 2015. Before that, Smart Smart was privately held and operated.

Abry Partners, based in Boston, typically targets investments in the $20 million to $200 million range. It invests across many sectors, including broadband, business services, communications, cybersecurity, healthcare IT, information services, insurance services, internet-of-things, logistics, media and software-as-a-service.

According to a recent SEC filing, Abry is targeting $1.25 billion for its sixth senior equity fund. In 2017, Abry closed its previous senior equity fund at $1.05 billion.

Abry Partners and Jefferies declined to comment. Smart Start did not respond to PE Hub’s requests for comment.