Expansion increases UL’s global footprint and expertise in automotive services

NORTHBROOK, Ill. – June 5, 2019 – UL, a global safety science leader, announces the acquisition of kVA, a U.S.-based technical and management consulting company that specializes in training and advising automotive developers and suppliers on the safety of autonomous vehicles and electrification of automotive systems. The deal fortifies UL’s expertise in autonomous vehicle testing and certification and offers greater access to its global customers.

“As autonomous vehicle technology continues to advance rapidly, the public’s trust and technology readiness will determine how quickly AVs are adopted,” said Jeff Smidt, VP and GM of UL’s Energy and Power Technologies division. “Functional safety expertise is critical to the adoption and the effective and safe use of autonomous vehicles and technology. The combined entity will enable us to respond to the growing market need for autonomous vehicle and technology services across the globe and build upon UL’s mission to make the world a safer place while helping companies create and protect their product’s brand value.’’


 kVA is a privately-owned company with a client portfolio that spans some of the largest global OEMS, automotive suppliers and developers of new autonomous automotive technology. The company has deep experience providing best-in-class functional safety training and advisory services to the automotive industry to meet regulatory requirements and help companies ensure their products will be commercially competitive.


kVA’s employees based in Royal Oak, Mich., Greenville, S.C., and Portland, Ore., will join UL’s Energy and Power Technologies division.


“We are excited to join forces with UL,” said kVA Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Bill Taylor. “Together, we will offer our clients best-in-class autonomous vehicle testing and advisory services. Our group’s shared reputation for delivering safe and effective autonomous vehicle testing, training and advisory services will allow us to significantly accelerate our growth. We can now extend our expertise across global markets and help this global industry deliver on the promise of connected and autonomous vehicles, for a safer and more secure world. This acquisition provides our customers with new access to a broader range of complementary services and expertise.’’


The transaction closed on June 3, 2019. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


About UL

UL helps create a better world by applying science to solve safety, security and sustainability challenges. We empower trust by enabling the safe adoption of innovative new products and technologies. Everyone at UL shares a passion to make the world a safer place. All of our work, from independent research and standards development, to testing and certification, to providing analytical and digital solutions, helps improve global well-being. Businesses, industries, governments, regulatory authorities and the public put their trust in us so they can make smarter decisions. To learn more, visit UL.com.




What has happened?

UL, a global safety science organization, has acquired kVA – a technical and management advisory company focused on functional and autonomous vehicle safety. The acquisition of kVAstrengthens UL’s current position as a leader in the functional safety training and advisory services to the automotive industry.

Who is kVA?

kVA is a privately owned technical and management advisory company focused on functional safety and autonomous vehicle safety, headquartered in Greenville, S.C. kVA specializes in technical advisory and training services for autonomous vehicles and systems, which includes automotive functional safety, automotive cybersecurity, semiconductor automotive functional safety, safety analysis based on the ISO 26262 standard, an engineering overview of ISO 26262 and an executive overview of ISO 26262.

Where is kVA headquartered and how many employees does it have?

kVA is headquartered in Greenville, S.C., with additional offices in Royal Oak, Mich., and Portland, Ore. It has 23 employees.

Will there be any changes in kVA’s leadership?

kVA will continue to be led by its Co-Founders and Managing Partners, Bill Taylor and Jody Nelson, reporting up to Jeff Smidt, VP and GM of UL’s Energy and Power Technologies division.

Why did UL buy kVA and how does it fit with UL? 

UL acquired kVA to expand its automotive advisory and testing services to include a team with deep experience in autonomous vehicle safety testing, training and advisory services, complementary to UL’s current Energy and Power Technologies capabilities. kVA will accelerate the build-up of an autonomous vehicle functional safety program by supporting key growth tasks, such as certification competency, software tool development, and the refinement of UL’s autonomous vehicle safety standards.

Working as one, UL and kVA will maintain the same focus, strengthening its position as a global leader in testing, inspection and certification services for autonomous vehicle technology and a provider of choice for related training and advisory services.

What are the terms of the deal?

As a privately held company, we do not make this information public.

 When did the acquisition close?

The transaction signed and closed on June 3, 2019.

Will you close facilities because of this acquisition?

No, all of kVA’s offices will remain open.

 Will UL retain the name of kVA?

The company will operate under the unifying brand name kVA, by UL.

 Who are some of the customers of kVA?

kVA has worked with some of the largest global OEMs, automotive suppliers and proprietors of new autonomous vehicle technology.

 What happens to the employees of kVA?

kVA’s most valuable asset is its people. We expect the business to continue operating as usual, so clients can continue to enjoy support from the technical and management advisory group they have come to trust and depend upon.

Who owns kVA and when was it founded?

kVA is privately held and was founded in 2010.

Why did the owners sell kVA?

There is a strong alignment between the two companies. As the market for autonomous vehicle testing, regulatory and advisory services grow, the combined portfolios of kVA and UL enable the two companies to capture additional business globally and bring even greater combined expertise to bear on behalf of clients.

How does this impact our current portfolio and related accreditations?

kVA’s expertise will enhance UL’s portfolio of work for OEMs and auto supplier companies. Sample work includes six comprehensive ISO 26262 training services and eight advisory services areas subject to regulatory standards such as ISO 26262 for automotive clients.

For more about kVA, visit https://www.kvausa.com/ 
NEXT is an economic development organization born out of the Greenville Chamber. For more information, visit https://nextsc.org/