Cleveland-based Dealer Tire LLC, a distributor of tires and parts for automotive dealerships, was the lead investor in a $4.50-million “Series A” financing package received by Tyrata Inc., a tire sensor and data management start-up in Durham, NC. 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. The technology can 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.
Dealer Tire is a family business founded in 1999 by the then-owners of the former Mueller Tire & Brake, a Cleveland-based service chain founded in 1918. Dealer Tire manages replacement tire and parts programs for 17 automotive OEMs, serving more than 10,000 dealerships from 43 distribution centers across the United States.