Dealer Tire, LLC, announced it is the leading investor in financing Duke University startup Tyrata, a tire sensor and data management company.
Tyrata secured $4.5 million in Series A financing from several investors including Dealer Tire, a Cleveland-based replacement tires and parts distributor for automotive dealerships.
Tyrata has an exclusive license with Duke University to develop sensor technology that monitors tire tread wear in real time, warning drivers and fleet management operators when tire rubber has grown dangerously thin. The funding will allow Tyrata to develop the sensor technology into a product and prepare for large-scale manufacturing.
Tyrata tire wear sensor can also be linked to data analytics systems to improve safety in consumer vehicles, reduce maintenance costs in large fleet management operations and provide data for the emerging autonomous vehicles market.
“We at Dealer Tire see a strong potential for this technology to improve consumer safety as it relates to tires,” said Scott Mueller, partner and CEO of Dealer Tire. “The investment in Tyrata is consistent with our strategy to enhance tire safety and provide exceptional, value-added services to our stakeholders and for the benefit of the overall industry.”
In a collaboration with Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and its Nicholas School of the Environment, Tyrata’s founders developed the sensor technology using carbon nanotubes that can track millimeter-scale changes in tread depth. The sensors could easily signal when it’s time to replace tires or report information about uneven and often dangerous tire wear conditions.
“Dealer Tire is well positioned in the industry to help accomplish Tyrata’s objective of making an impact across all major tire manufacturers,” said Jesko von Windheim, CEO of Tyrata. “Our technology is a great fit with Dealer Tire’s commitment to tire safety across the industry, and we are absolutely delighted to have Dealer Tire as our lead investor. Their investment allows Tyrata to hire a world-class management and engineering team to address a very large, unmet need for tread wear monitoring in the transportation industry.”