Discount Tire, the world’s largest independent tire retailer, led a $7.5 million Series A investment round in RoboTire, a Detroit-based automotive robotics and automation startup.
Arizona-based Reinalt-Thomas Corp., which does business as Discount Tire and other brand names around the country, invested in the round along with Automotive Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners, 640 Oxford Ventures, and several angel investors.
RoboTire is a patented robotics and automation solution designed to enable robots to change tires in a fraction of the time human operators can — reducing an hour-long experience down to less than 15 minutes.
“This is a pivotal moment for RoboTire and sets us on a path to further transform vehicle maintenance,” says Victor Darolfi, founder and CEO of RoboTire. “Our focus is to revolutionize the way tires are changed, and collaborating with Discount Tire — an iconic automotive and tire industry leader — will make our innovative technology more widely available to consumers who need both speed and service as part of their daily lives.”
Bringing this manufacturing-level automation to traditional automotive repair shops has the potential to transform the traditional financial and operational considerations used by fleet operators and automotive service providers for tire and wheel services, the company says.
“Discount Tire is excited to support RoboTire in the development of new and innovative technologies that drive a better customer experience,” says Tom Williams, chief experience officer at Discount Tire. “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.”
RoboTire was founded in 2018 and has multiple patents and patents pending for its automotive systems.
“We see RoboTire as transformative — not only for the tire industry but for the development of smarter automotive technologies and future-proofing the workforce of skilled technicians, which our industry must do a better job recruiting, training, and retaining,” says Will Mapes, CEO of RoboTire. “We’re excited to build out and scale our operations and team in Detroit and in Michigan, the heart of American automotive engineering, with support of our new partners.”
For more information, visit robotire.com.