GTCR to acquire video-based driver safety pioneer Lytx

GTCR, a leading private equity firm, announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Lytx (formerly known as DriveCam) for a reported $500 million in cash. Lytx is the leading provider of video telematics that help commercial and public sector fleets improve driver behavior and reduce collisions and collision-related expenses.

GTCR will partner with Lytx CEO Brandon Nixon and the current management team as they continue to grow and develop the company’s customer base and service offerings. Lytx, headquartered in San Diego, was founded in 1998 and pioneered the video-based driver safety industry.

Lytx initially focused on providing monitoring for passenger vehicles, later offering a system recording driver behavior during unusual road events and then transmitting footage back to Lytx for analysis. For trucking companies, this provides potentially useful legal evidence because while car-truck collisions often result in large settlements, truckers themselves are at fault in only 30 percent of crashes.

Lytx serves more than 1,400 commercial and government fleet customers worldwide, including some of the largest commercial fleets in the world. The company enables its clients to realize significant return on investment by lowering operating and insurance costs, while achieving greater efficiency, safety and compliance.

The company’s flagship product, Lytx DriveCam, sets the standard for driver safety in the trucking industry and its RAIR Compliance Services helps DOT-regulated fleets comply with safety regulations, complementing the DriveCam program.

Lytx ActiveVision service helps detect and address distracted and drowsy driving, both in real time and over time.

“Brandon and his team have built an exceptional business that repeatedly delivers strong and quantifiable returns on investment to its customers,” said GTCR Managing Director Phil Canfield. “We are excited to be partnering with them for their next chapter of growth.”

“Video telematics, the category we created nearly two decades ago, has so much potential to deliver substantial cost savings to commercial and public fleets, and make our roadways safer,” said Nixon. “We have a vision for expanding our breadth of video telematics services and GTCR is the perfect partner to see us through this phase of our long-term growth strategy.”

Mark Anderson, managing director at GTCR, added: “The acquisition of Lytx is a great example of leveraging GTCR’s expertise in investing in companies with hard-to-replicate data and highly valuable workflow applications. This transaction also highlights GTCR’s continued enthusiasm for investing in market-leading companies with substantial whitespace opportunities.”

Founded in 1980, the Chicago-based GTCR has invested more than$12 billion in more than 200 companies.

With the rapid advance of autonomous technology, Lytx is positioned to play a critical role. Seen by some as a transitional technology until fully autonomous vehicles are on the road, Lytx has taken some steps that help prepare it for that eventual shift, including an add-on to its camera system that provides drivers with alerts when they stray out of their lane or follow another vehicle too closely. That detection and decision technology could be integrated into more advanced forms of automation or autonomous driving.

Cameras used to monitor truck drivers are experiencing fast adoption in the trucking industry. Last year, Lytx added 102,000 new systems across 365 companies. That included one of the largest contracts to date in the category, installing cameras in more than 6,000 trucks owned by Swift Transportation. The company provides ongoing services on a subscription basis and says it signed $200 million in new contracts in 2015 – 80 percent more than in 2014.

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) became the first company to test autonomous trucks in Nevada last year and says the technology could be road ready by 2025.

“The autonomous vehicle technology we are showcasing in the Freightliner Inspiration Truck will help reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and safeguard the environment,” said Daimler’s Wolfgang Bernhard. “Daimler Trucks North America is committed to developing the latest technology to meet our customers’ needs and delivering the best commercial trucks in the world. We are proud to get this vehicle on the road.”