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The SMART Tire Company

World's first high performance airless tire made from space-age materials

Pitch Video
Investor Panel

Highlights

1
12+ years and $10M+ research behind this NASA-licensed technology
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Strategic partnership & collaborations with Felt Bicycles and Spin Mobility (Ford Motor Company)
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3x patents licensed: superelastic, radially stiffened shape memory alloy, tubular SMA structure
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Addresses the $250B global tire market, from bikes to off-road, automotive, trucking and aerospace
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Space Act Agreement between The SMART Tire Company and NASA Glenn Research Center
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Original inventor is a 2x R&D 100 Award Winner ("the Oscars of Innovation")
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Eco-friendly alternative: tire industry produces more than 50 billion pounds of toxic waste annually
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Invented, developed, and manufactured in the USA

Our Team

When new technology and legacy industry collide, is when disruption occurs. The tire industry is a 100+ year-old global industry that affects all of our lives. Making tires greener, longer-lasting and safer, has the potential to make a significant impact all over the world.

Reimagining the wheel, by reinventing the tire

NASA: Tire Experts?

Pneumatic (air-filled) rubber tires were first invented in the 19th century

In the 1960's, NASA began its own tire development for space exploration. You might recognize their first attempt, riding around on the moon:

Fast forward 50+ years and multiple rover missions, and we need the ultimate tire to put large vehicles on Mars (someday, with people on them). That's where we come in.

Down to Earth: The SMART Tire Company

The SMART (Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology) Tire Company was formed for the express purpose of commercializing a new category of airless tire invented for the future of space exploration. We're taking the extreme properties of this Mars-grade technology, coating it with a special rubber-like material (which work great on Earth roads), and optimizing it for all major transportation uses.

The Master Plan

The tire industry is both deep and wide, which is why The SMART Tire Company has performed extensive research to develop our go-to-market strategy. Starting with the world's first high-performance airless bicycle tire (METL™), we plan to enter the 2-wheel market in 2022, all the while developing the advanced capabilities necessary for the automotive and trucking industries As we scale our production capabilities and drive down costs, STC can compete with major tire companies and achieve $1B+ in revenue within 5 years by first capturing market share in bicycles, eBikes, scooters and mopeds and then coinciding our automotive products with the rise of EVs and autonomous vehicles (for which we are ideally suited). Interest in these products is already sky high!

Disclaimer: This timeline is forward-looking and cannot be guaranteed

Tire Industry Problems

Despite our best efforts, flat tires are a fact of life -- about 1 flat per driver, per year in the USA. Tire failures contributes to over 20% of roadside emergencies, and reduce fuel efficiency every day on every vehicle, as they slowly leak pressure.

The tire industry is incredibly dirty. Every year, over 50B pounds of used tires become waste. Most of this waste stream goes into landfills or is burned in enormous tire yards. 20-30% of all ocean micro-plastics come from tires.

Future applications are even more demanding. Electric vehicles carry heavier loads over longer distances, with less margin for error. An autonomous ride is useless and unsafe with a flat tire, and we will need a technology originally invented to solve exactly that problem.

Trucking & aerospace are even more demanding than consumer automobiles, and superelastic tires solve for key problems in both industries. We can save hundreds of pounds of payload on a 737 jet, or run fuel efficient double-wide truck tires without worrying about downtime for flats.

The SMART Solution

SMART (Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology) tires made from shape memory alloys are fundamentally different than anything available on the market today.

  • Airless tires are never flat. Flat tires are the #1 problem in the tire industry. By removing air pressure from the equation, SMART tires are safer and require less maintenance. According to the NHTSA, there are over 11,000 tire-related crashes every year. Under inflated tires also reduce fuel efficiency in all vehicles.
  • Elastic like rubber, yet strong like titanium, this radial design can support 20,000 lbs with a single tire, more than enough for a fully loaded semi-truck, or the landing gear of a 737 jet. This isn't the limit either; novel designs can go even farther when we need it.
  • Longer lasting & eco-friendly. With a tire that can last the lifetime of the vehicle, we can save billions of pounds of waste, tens of billions of hours of maintenance, and increase the fuel efficiency of vehicles worldwide.

The advantages of this type of tire are obvious. Not only does it eliminate potential issues with temperature or pressure affecting a gas-filled tire, it also eliminates the possibility of deflation.

- Car & Driver Magazine

Technology

Born from the mission requirements at NASA, these tires were originally invented to withstand continuous use on Mars. That means operating at extreme temperatures from -200F to 200F+, never, ever going flat, remaining lightweight, and staying energy efficient.

Like many great inventions, the SMA tire was invented when two different disciplines worked together. Having originally built a spring tire from steel springs, NASA had a problem: the tires were taking too much permanent damage from the terrain. Enter cutting edge material science: a special metal alloy that can recover 100% from the same types of deformation that were damaging the steel.

What makes SMA tires so special? It's the combination of innovative structural design, with the unique properties of these alloys. Heather Oravec describes how the material actually rearranges its molecular structure instead of stretching chemical bonds in response to stress. This "superelastic" or pseudoelastic effect is fundamentally superior to the everyday notion of "elastic" material.

On Mars, this means that NASA was able to change future rovers from a 6-wheel design back to 4. Ever wondered why the Perseverance Rover has 6 wheels? Because it didn't have SMA tires that could handle the terrain! These same capabilities are now being used by The SMART Tire Company for terrestrial applications.

Our Team

Members of our team have decades of experience across multiple industries including education, gaming, manufacturing, hardware and blockchain. Collectively we've operated a global children's charity, won engineering awards, supported wildlife conservation, run ultramarathons, built a variety of startup businesses, and strive to be pretty-good humans. Our combined mission is to build the next great American tire company.

With the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles to make our cities smarter, we understand that everyday and high-tech vehicles all require TIRES in order to operate. Shape memory alloys have the potential to be as disruptive as the electric car, and the most important metal alloy since the advent of steel. We're just the messengers.

Elite Industry Partners

NASA Glenn Laboratory (Cleveland, OH) is situated in the heartland of American manufacturing, miles from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Cooper Tires, and numerous automotive and aerospace companies. SMA tire technology was invented here as a collaboration between world-leading materials science research, and cutting-edge tire engineering. The SMART Tire Company is an official licensee of the full SMA tire technology suite, and engaged in an ongoing public/private research partnership with NASA scientists & engineers to continue development of the METL™ bicycle tire.

Of course, even breakthrough technology is not enough on its own. That's why we've partnered with multiple industry leaders to develop competitive products that solve real-world problems. All of our mobility partners are based in the USA and leaders in their field.

Felt Bicycles is a world-leader in high-performance bicycles, known for their dedication to cutting edge technologies, and the "dream bike" of many cyclists. As a strategic partner, they will contribute to the development of the first METL bicycle tire.

At Felt, innovation and technology inspire us to create high-performance bikes. STC’s tire solution shows an exciting new frontier and we’re excited to offer our bikes to support their testing.

- Eric Sakalowsky, VP Global Marketing & E-Commerce, Felt Bicycle


Spin Mobility (Ford Motor Company) is a micro-mobility leader owned by Ford Motor Company. Known for innovation, they are the 3rd largest rental fleet after Lime and Bird. In collaboration with STC, they will contribute to the development of electric scooter tires and eBike technologies.

Spin is always looking to increase comfort, the safety, and longevity of e-scooters, and to minimize environmental impacts. We are excited about the potential of METL and we are sharing our knowledge about scooter tire performance and specifications with The SMART Tire Company with the hope that they can help advance our mission to create a cleaner, safer and better transportation for all.

- James Berg, Research and Development Manager, Spin Mobility

Key Accomplishments

  • Multiple NASA patents protect this innovation and are commercially licensed by The SMART Tire Company: Superelastic tire,  Radially stiffened shape memory alloy tire, and Tubular SMA structure (patent pending).
  • Developed two generations of a bicycle tire prototype, called METL™
  • Radial tire prototype was successfully tested by NASA on a commercial Jeep vehicle
  • Computer models show potential for aerospace
  • Strategic partnerships with industry leaders
  • NASA Startup Studio 1st place winners, pitch contest
  • University connections to cutting-edge SMA research
  • Space Act Agreement with NASA

Business Model

Our business model is inspired by the Tesla Master Plan (https://www.tesla.com/blog/secret-tesla-motors-master-plan-just-between-you-and-me)

Whereas the overarching mission behind Tesla Motors was to transition the automotive industry from fossil fuels to solar/electric, ours is to phase out pneumatic, disposable product in favor of long-lasting, renewable shape memory tires.

We plan to do this through a systemic series of products, in our case traversing both downwards through price points and upwards into larger and more demanding markets. The STC Master Plan at a high level looks like:

1) Create a high-end bicycle tire that establishes the value of shape memory alloy tires, and puts it into the hands of consumers

2) Decrease costs and grow within the two-wheel and off-road markets to include scooters, eBikes, mopeds and motorcycles

3) Optimize material costs and supply chain to the point where a radial tire becomes commercially viable

4) Enter the automotive and/or trucking markets

5) Continue to reduce costs and increase capacity up to 90% since introduction

6) Reduce global pollution through significant market share, licensing shape memory alloy innovations as necessary to increase adoption

7) Save $billions in jet fuel and emissions by replacing high-pressure landing gear, containment chambers and related equipment on commercial aircraft

Competition

The global tire industry is highly fragmented, with the top 3 manufacturers (Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear) each holding less than 10% market share. No major competitor specializes in airless tires. It is our belief that a focus on elastomers (the specialty of all major tire companies, which are first and foremost rubber companies) puts them at a major disadvantage compared to SMART products.

Our technology is protected by multiple licensed NASA patents, our own proprietary methods, and special knowledge of large scale structural engineering with SMAs.

The prevailing business model among our competitors is replacement tires, which comprise 70% of all sales. Switching to a renewable model using different materials would be a difficult paradigm shift for any of these companies. Please see our FAQ for more details about cost, and scaling the production of SMART tires.

The Market Opportunity

The opportunities for a superior tire technology are nearly as large as the industry itself ($250B); however, we've identified short, medium and long-term opportunities as follows (exact timeline not guaranteed):

Years 1-2: 2-wheel market (cycling, micromobility)

Years 2-4: mopeds, off-road, military

Years 5+: automotive & trucking

Years 6+: aerospace

Our first product, the METL™ bike tire, is purpose-built for the cycling industry due to the higher margins, lower regulatory restrictions, and consumer appeal. We expect METL to be ready for production in Q1 of 2022, with first units delivered to customers later that year.

Go-to Market: Cycling and Micromobility

The first commercially available SMART Tire, is the METL™ bicycle tire, a high-performance airless tire for road, gravel, mountain and eBikes.

Cycling presents a strong opportunity to address a customer need (flat tires & constant maintenance) in the fastest growing segment of the tire industry (two-wheel vehicles). Profit margins are high, and regulatory costs are low relative to the tire industry at large.

Commercialization of the METL™ bicycle tire is part of a larger multi-stage process (see "Business Plan" below) in which STC will iteratively:

  • Increase the production of shape memory alloy components
  • Improve our manufacturing methods with custom machinery
  • Test fatigue characteristics & all-weather performance
  • Gather additional real-world customer feedback

Our 12 month roadmap for METL™ is presented here:

Disclaimer: These projections cannot be guaranteed

R&D performed as part of our go-to-market will contribute as well to the next tier of products for heavier motorized vehicles, as demonstrated here on a Jeep SUV (final product will include rubber treads, driven here for comparison purposes).

One last word

Join us! American-made, NASA-invented technology, eco-friendly... and backed by YOU, our amazing supporters. Help us achieve our goal of Reimagining the wheel™ as the next great American innovation.

We are building the next, great American tire company, for a new generation of smarter vehicles and cleaner transportation.

To learn even more, visit https://smarttirecompany.com, or drop us a message at hello@smarttirecompany.com.

To join the waiting list for METL™ bicycle tires, please visit our cycling page at https://smarttirecompany.com/cycling

Overview