Earl Cole and Brian Yennie are not reinventing the wheel. Rather, they are reimagining the tire. The founders of the SMART (Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology) Tire Company won the rights to commercialize the Shape Memory Alloy (SHA) technology that NASA has been developing for its Moon and Mars rovers. The rovers use tires made of metal alloys that can endure perilous surfaces and brutal temperatures without going flat or being punctured.
The SMART Tire Company is developing their METLTM (Martensite Elasticized Tubular Loading) tires for use on earthbound bicycles. They started with bicycle tires, so they could build core capabilities and put an extremely cool product on the market more quickly. Eventually, there will be METLTM tires for e-scooters, automobiles and airplanes.
- The tires are made with NiTinol+, a material that contains nickel and titanium and can deform to any shape and spring right back to its original shape, repeatedly.
- The tires are made of interconnected coils and so are not filled with air. They also provide their own load-bearing elements and have the ultimate tread grip with as good or better traction than traditional rubber tires and built-in shock-absorbing capabilities.
- The tires last for life of the vehicle and beyond. When they do incur damage, they can be repaired or refurbished by retreading, or reshaping and heat treating localized damage, or replacing individual elements. No need to buy a whole new set of tires.
- METLTM tires are also kind to the environment. Rubber tires are made from petroleum products, carbon black, plastics and metals; 50 billion pounds per year are buried or burned. In fact, 20-30% of all ocean microplastics comes from tire wear that is washed off of our roads and into our waterways. METLTM tires, when they reach the bitter end, are melted down and recycled into the NiTinol supply chain.
SMART Tire Company Partners
- Felt Bicycles is a world-leader in high-performance bicycles—the “cream of the crop” for many cyclists. Felt is known for its cutting edge technologies, and it contributes to the development of the METLTM bicycle tire with research, data analytics, and material science.
Also, the company is providing the bicycles to help develop these space age wheels.
- Spin is a micro-mobility company owned by the Ford Motor Company. Known for innovation, Spin will contribute to increasing comfort, safety and longevity while minimizing harmful effects on the environment as they work on developing electric scooter and eBike technologies. They also share information about tire performance and specifications.
SMART Tire Company Founders
This is not the first venture for Brian and Earl. They are both serial entrepreneurs and collaborated on an earlier business, Fanstreme, an interactive sports technology company.
- Brian, a software and blockchain engineer, founded Sifaka Productions that provided online electronic bulletin boards and chat rooms and was eventually acquired by Oomba, a cloud-based social network for gamers. He is now building the leading decentralized cryptocurrency exchange.
- Earl is a multi-hyphenate (TV personality, reality show host, producer, advertising executive, and musician), but his primary “claim to fame” is winning Survivor: Fiji in 2007 and its prize, $1,000,000. But mostly he is an entrepreneur. He created his first business when he was a “’tween” using an early Mac to sell prints of cartoon characters as notebook covers.
Brian and Earl are proudly building the next great American tire company for a new generation of smarter vehicles and cleaner transportation.