How one founder partnered with NASA to make tires puncture-proof and more sustainable – TechCrunch

This week’s episode of Found options The SMART Tire Firm co-founder and CEO Earl Cole, a one-time Survivor champion whose startup is working with NASA to commercialize a few of its space-age tech. Cole gained a NASA startup competitors in search of entrepreneurs to work with its scientists and researchers on purposes of improvements it created for house exploration that might work proper right here on Earth, serving to individuals whereas additionally forming the idea for a commercially-viable enterprise.

For Cole, that resulted in The SMART Tire Firm, a enterprise that’s utilizing tech NASA developed to create extra sturdy, puncture-proof tires to equip future rovers. NASA turned to form reminiscence alloys (SMAs), which is a kind of steel that may be flexed or bent, however that additionally has elastic properties to return to its unique form, to deal with the distinctive process of constructing a tire that wouldn’t require inflation, however that will be capable to deal with rocky Martian terrain with aplomb. Cole’s startup is utilizing the identical expertise to deal with the greater than $100 billion tire trade — beginning with bike tires, however finally shifting on to deal with different kinds of autos as nicely.

We talked to Cole concerning the technique of working with NASA, together with its challenges and what the company has to supply by way of distinctive entry to cutting-edge expertise. He additionally shared his perspective on entrepreneurship from a long time of expertise, together with difficulties with conventional VC and entry to funding, and why he selected to initially increase cash for his personal startup by means of newly-available fairness crowdsourcing. Cole additionally instructed us about why being a Survivor champ (and the primary unanimous winner) gives essential classes for not solely being a founder, but in addition working an organization and being an efficient chief, too.

We had a good time chatting with Cole, and we hope you will have simply as a lot enjoyable listening. And naturally, we’d love when you can subscribe to Found in Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, on Google Podcasts or in your podcast app of choice. Please go away us a assessment and tell us what you suppose, or ship us directed suggestions both on Twitter or by way of e-mail. Come again subsequent week for one more nice dialog with a founder all about their very own distinctive expertise of startup life.