If I had to guess, I’d bet you’re not an astronaut.
But I’d still wager that NASA plays a big role in your life.
You see, since 1976, the U.S. space agency NASA has been responsible for more than 2,000 innovations, many of which you and your family probably use every day. For example:
- Do you take pictures with your smartphone? Mobile phone cameras use a tiny sensor that was perfected at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1990s.
- Like to keep your kitchen crumb-free? Handheld vacuums like Dustbusters are based on a NASA-designed drill made to take samples of the Moon’s surface.
- And it’s a similar story for memory-foam mattresses, baby formula, invisible braces, scratch-resistant lenses, and cardiac pumps. They all owe their existence to NASA.
But these innovations haven’t just become part of our lives. They’ve also become extraordinarily valuable. For example, the market for memory-foam mattresses is worth about $8 billion. And cordless vacuums like the Dustbuster have created a $20 billion market.
And now we’ve found the next technology that’s poised to make the leap from NASA to everyday life…
And today, I’ll show how you can invest in it while it’s still on the ground floor.
Reinventing the Tire
This story gets started with a recurring problem NASA was having:
The vehicles it was using to explore Mars and the Moon kept breaking down. The problem was their tires. They couldn’t handle the rough terrain.
So NASA spent years developing a new kind of tire. And with a technology called shape-memory alloy, it finally hit paydirt.
This technology enables a tire to change shape as it encounters uneven terrain and obstacles — and then, magically, it reverts to its original form.
This super-elastic tire is made from a cutting-edge material — a shape-memory alloy called Nickel Titanium, or NiTinol for short. The use of NiTinol produces a tire that’s elastic like rubber, yet strong like titanium.
Shape-memory alloys are capable of undergoing what’s called phase transitions at the molecular level. That means they can experience strains that are an order of magnitude greater than ordinary materials before undergoing permanent deformation.
This tire is set to play a starring role in the future of space exploration. But it also has vast potential here on Earth, where the $300 billion tire industry is ripe for disruption.
And that’s where a new startup called SMART Tire comes into the picture…
Introducing: SMART Tire
To commercialize its breakthrough technology, NASA recently partnered with a startup called SMART Tire.
Essentially, SMART Tire is adapting NASA’s tires for roads on Earth — for military vehicles, for all types of trucks and planes, and for bikes and cars.
SMART Tires are entirely airless, so they can modify their shape to traverse rocks, craters, or anything in their path. The result is a tire that is elastic like rubber, strong like titanium, and since it’s 100% airless, not only is it safer than traditional tires, but it also requires far less maintenance.
SMART has already tested prototypes, like this one:
The company plans to start selling its products shortly. But before it gets there, it needs additional capital — which is why it’s turning to investors like you.
Should you explore an investment?
Let’s take a look.
The Pros and Cons of an Investment
On the “pro” side:
Major Partners — SMART has already attracted major partners including NASA, Spin Mobility (a division of Ford Motor Company), and Felt Bicycles, a leader in high-performance bicycles. Such partners can bestow credibility on SMART, and can help it gain traction.
Huge Market — Between tires for bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and trucks, this is a $300 billion market.
Press — The company and its product have received glowing reviews from media outlets including Car and Driver, Business Insider, and Newsweek. Check out these quotes:
But on the “con” side…
The $50 million valuation for this round is higher than we’d prefer. At that level, we’d need a $500 million exit to earn 1,000% profits — our target for any private investment.
This con helps explain why I’m not recommending you run out and blindly invest in SMART Tire. This is a risky venture. It requires substantial research to understand how things might play out, and what its true return profile might look like.
But if you believe the time has come to reinvent the tire — and that NASA might be onto something big — this startup might be worth a look.
Please note: Crowdability has no relationship with any of the startups we write about. We’re an independent provider of education and research on startups and alternative investments.