Drivin, the Chicago-based startup that helps used-car dealers sell, source, acquire and deliver inventory, has been acquired for $43 million.
KAR Auction Services, based in Carmel, Ind., announced the deal Wednesday. Groupon founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell launched Drivin in 2015.
“We’ve been able to move them from partner to now part of our team,” said Don Gottwald, chief operating officer of KAR. “They bring a host of capabilities, not just analytical tools and not just data science, but also technology interfaces that make it easily consumable.”
The announcement said the company would keep its Chicago location and key executives, including CEO Kayne Grau and COO Justin Mahlik.
From its start, Drivin partnered with KAR on the wholesale side of the industry and Cars.com on the retail side. With those partnerships, Drivin has served dealers beyond data, said Grau, who becomes president of Drivin under KAR. He earlier was chief technology officer for Cars.com, while Mahlik had a relationship with KAR.
The success of their partnership is based on consolidating information and services that dealers otherwise would have to pull from a variety of sources, Grau said.
“The solution existed in the traditional wholesaler through different entities, but nobody put it in as one single solution,” he said.
He called the used-car manager “the busiest person in a dealership” because they’re constantly looking at acquisition and disposal of cars for their lots.
“We created the data science to give (them) the data that these are cars that would be great for your lot, and these are cars that would be hard to dispose,” he said. “We put it together in a simple-to-understand user interface with mobile and desktop to be able to make real-time decisions.”
KAR works with tens of thousands of dealers, customers and buyers across the U.S., said Gottwald.
“Last year we helped sell more than 5 million vehicles in the marketplace,” he said. In 2016, there were 15 million used vehicles sold in the U.S., according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. There were more than 17 million new vehicles sold in the same period.
KAR will absorb Drivin’s approximately 50 employees, bringing the total team to about 600 in the Chicago area. KAR’s salvage auction unit, Insurance Auto Auctions, is based in Westchester, and its newly opened ADESA Chicago auction is based in Hoffman Estates.
KAR has 17,400 employees across the U.S., Mexico and the U.K., including 1,400 at its Indianapolis-area headquarters, Gottwald said.
First posted on Chicago Tribune