LuminAID acquisition highlights ‘aggressive’ expansion plans of Adventure Ready Brands

The deal adds an emerging portable solar power player to the company’s portfolio.

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Although he’s hesitant to discuss specifics of the deal, Adventure Ready Brands (ARB) chief executive Chris Heye has made it clear that his company’s acquisition this week of portable solar power company LuminAID is only one piece of a larger expansion strategy.

“This is our third acquisition since ARB changed ownership [in 2019] and we’re aggressively looking for more,” Heye told Outside Business Journal this week.

The LuminAID announcement caps off a busy three years for the four-decade-old portfolio company, which sells products through nearly 50,000 retail outlets in 46 countries. In 2019, ARB acquired water purification company RapidPure and personal defense brand CounterAssault.

Read more: Dometic acquires Igloo for $677 million as cooler category heats up

“We’re taking a very broad approach in outdoor space, framed by a strategy with priorities,” Heye, who has been with the company for almost three years, added.

Discussing strategy for LuminAID, Heye said the acquisition of the purpose-led company was in the works for more than a year and branching out to this particular category of the outdoor segment was “highly attractive” for ARB.

“We originally were attracted to LuminAID because of their mission,” Heye said. “The more we looked at them, the more we thought those products [added to] our brand portfolio.”

LuminAID was founded by two architecture students looking for an efficient way to help survivors of natural disasters with safer and more efficient light. The result was a straightforward, rechargeable lantern that notably earned investment from Mark Cuban on “Shark Tank” in 2015.

LuminAID was featured on “Shark Tank”in 2015.
(Photo: Ethan Peck)

The Chicago-based company also supports a number of humanitarian efforts and has donated more than 50,000 lights to charitable causes through its “Give Light, Get Light” program. Heye said operations will remain in Chicago, where much of the company already works remotely. ARB is based in New Hampshire and Montana.

ARB grows amid broader challenges

With its portfolio of 11 brands, ARB is enduring supply chain and inventory shortages like many others in the outdoor space, but Heye is keenly optimistic about the business’ future nonetheless. 

“We feel like we’re prepared for the holiday season,” he said. “It’s been very difficult with supply chain issues, but we’ve been proactive in building extra inventory with extra-long lead times.”

While Heye didn’t offer any further details, he did say every brand in the ARB lineup has grown over the last three years and that the company is on track to nearly double in size over the next year. 

“We were growing very quickly before the pandemic and continue to be on a strong growth trajectory,” he said.