Editor’s note: Startland selected 12 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2019’s companies. Click here to view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch.
Zohr’s elevator pitch: Zohr – Tires Delivered & Installed is basically a tire shop that comes to you. We sell, deliver, and install new tires at your home or your office. We’re changing the way you change your tires and just making that process as easy as possible for the end consumer.
Two brothers who grew up loving cars stand to reinvent the wheel of consumer tire sales, Komal Choong explained of his Kansas City mounted startup — Zohr.
Founders: Komal Choong, Anoop Choong
Founding year: 2015
Amount raised to date: Not disclosed
Noteworthy investors: Firebrand Ventures, M25 Group, Techstars
Programs completed: Y Combinator Fellowship, Techstars Mobility
Current employee count: 8 full-time, 4 contracted
“We’ve definitely had this drive or passion to innovate or do something differently,” Choong said of his and his brother Anoop Choong’s alignment as founders of Zohr. “We kind of grew up in this entrepreneurial environment [motivating us to found a startup.]”
Installing a startup in a $30-billion-a-year industry has come with its fair share of challenges, Komal Choong admitted, but innovation in the consumer tire space is long overdue and has — so far — been welcomed warmly by consumers and legacy companies who’ve long tread the industry, he added.
“There’s over 200 million tires replaced every year. So, just that number itself kinda shows you, this is actually a large market to go after and there’s virtually no one that’s really competing in this onsite, at home installation type of a segment of it,” he said. “We see that as a big, big opportunity for us to come into it and really disrupt the way people buy their tires and get them installed.”
A heavy driver of Zohr’s growth over the past year — which included a steady increase of customers and brand recognition for the company — was the Choong brothers’ participation in the Detroit-based Techstars Mobility accelerator, Choong explained.
“[Techstars has been] something that’s really shaped our trajectory moving forward. Also some of the investors we brought on board early on kind of helped contribute to that success of getting into Techstars and making that experience worthwhile and that’s kind of really what set the path moving forward — just getting access to that network,” he said.
Scratching but the surface of a massive industry, skills gained in Techstars will allow Zohr to focus on market expansion as the company seeks new opportunities to reach clients in the nation’s startup hubs, Choong said.
“That’s kind of our next big move in terms of disruption, we want to penetrate the market as deeply as possible and really improve that experience for as many people as possible,” he said.