RoboTire crossed our radar in February of last year, just before much of the world was brought to a complete standstill courtesy of the pandemic. Things were still fairly early stages for the Detroit-based startup, which was founded by former Spark Robotics CEO Victor Darolfi.
The company has clearly picked up some good, strategic interest in the intervening year and a half, as more and more industries are looking to embrace the benefits of automation. Today it announced that it has raised a $7.5 million Series A round, led by The Reinalt-Thomas Corporation, the major tire retail brand behind Discount Tire and America’s Tire. The latter, funnily enough, got a bit of a mixed shout-out when we spoke to Darolfi last year.
“I sat at America’s Tires for three hours and thought, hey, we use robots to put tires on at the factory,” he told us. “Why don’t we bring robots into the service industry?” Clearly Reinalt-Thomas was listening. The company was joined by Automotive Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners and 640 Oxford Ventures in the round. RoboTire says the funding will go toward expanding its operations in Detroit.
The underlying technology is capable of changing a set of tires in less than 15 minutes, by the company’s count. From the sound of things, Discount Tire will be among the first to adopt the automated tech.
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“Discount Tire is excited to support RoboTire in the development of new and innovative technologies that drive a better customer experience,” Discount Tire Chief Experience Officer Tom Williams said in a release. “As customer expectations around the ‘buy and book online’ experience and our ability to deliver reduced wait times continue to grow, we will continue to pursue automation and enhancements that ensure an inviting, easy and safe experience for all our customers.”