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Kian Capital sells Driven Lighting Group to Clearlake

Wheel Pros, backed by Clearlake, buys Atlanta-based automotive aftermarket company.

After a three-and-a-half-year investment period, Kian Capital sold an automotive aftermarket lighting product provider, Driven Lighting Group, to Clearlake Capital portfolio company Wheel Pros.

PRESS RELEASE

ATLANTA, GA and CHARLOTTE, NC (September 21, 2021) Kian Capital Partners (“Kian”), a middle-market focused private investment firm, announced today it has 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, Driven Lighting Group 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 that deliver high-performance, quality products. DLG’s creative content engine and e-commerce platforms have attracted a large community of enthusiasts that have propelled the business to clear industry leadership.

“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,” said Brian Reese, CEO of DLG. “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 Driven Lighting Group (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 and was the first to commercialize custom aftermarket headlight products. In 2019, the company completed two acquisitions, XenonDepot in January and Headlight Revolution in March, 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 the company quintupled revenue and quadrupled EBITDA.

Kossoff said, “We had a lot of opportunity and we needed a financial partner to fuel our growth and realize our lofty ambitions. Kian’s collaborative approach, strategic relationships in the auto aftermarket space and operational experience helped me navigate through significant growth and rapid change.” Nelson further commented, “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,” said Rick Cravey, Partner at Kian Capital. “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 Driven Lighting Group.

About Kian Capital Partners

At Kian, we forge partnerships to ignite growth and build enduring value. Our goal is to provide flexible financial resources and additional operational horsepower to scale middle-market businesses, realize aspirations and deliver long-term investment returns through genuine partnership. Kian is a private investment firm with $425 million of capital under management and a focus on four core industry sectors: consumer, services, value added distribution and specialty manufacturing. Our team of seasoned investors has over 80 years of collective experience providing transformational capital solutions and board-level strategic and operational guidance to founder/owner operated businesses. To learn more, visit www.kiancapital.com