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KAR Auction Services acquire Drivin for $43 million

KAR Auction Services, the auto auctions giant acquired the e-commerce firm engaged in the business of pre-owned cars, for a consideration of $43 million in stock. Established in 2015 by kayne Grau, former CTO at Cars.com, Chicago tech investors Brad Keywell and Eric Leftofsky and Justin Mahlik, an investment banker, Drivin expanded its operation from Chicago to St. Louis Charlotte, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, offering platform for the dealers to buy and sell used cars, avoiding auctions, which can be less attractive to the sellers. What is more, Drivin also set up a data-analytics platform, which helps the potential buyers to know what types of cars were witnessing brisk sales in which markets, choosing from the data from 23,000 dealers. Drivin had earlier invested around $17.5 million.

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The Indiana police based KAR is renowned for auto actions like ADESA and Insurance Auto Auction, spread across the Chicago area, selling about five million pre-owned cars a year. Don Gottwald, COO, KAR said that Drivin proved that their analytics worked. "Therefore, we expect to grow and syndicate Drivin's analytics capabilities to better match supply and demand for commercial sellers", Gottwald added.The acquisition mirrors the ever evolving changes in the car business, which is emerging more state of the art and data-reliant. According to the deal, Grau will continue at the helm of Drivin, manning around 55 employees and would steer the growth. KAR considers the buyout as a means to consolidate its footprint in Chicago and further strengthen its tech bench, more so in data science and analytics, two of most happening technologies.Drivin has a showroom at 600 West Chicago Avenue, sharing space with two other data-intensive startups, Uptake and Tempus, established by Keywell and Lefkofsky respectively. Gottwals said Drivin is based in Chicago and have access to talent. The data science talent and incubator hotbed Drivin got is very attractive to KAR. With around 500 personnel in Chicago, most of them located at its IAA auto auction in Hoffman Estates. Earlier in 2005, the private-equity firm Kelso acquired the Westchester-based IAA and eventually merged with KAR. Besides Lefkofsky and Keywell, other investors of Drivin includes Investment fund Columbus nova technology partners and Cars.com founder Mitch Golub.