By Donna Loughlin
As kids, brothers Komal and Anoop Choong always appreciated their father’s entrepreneurial spirit.
The Choongs came to the United States from Northern India and Komal and Anoop’s father and brothers opened a chain of Indian restaurants. The brothers marveled at how their father managed to keep several plates spinning at once, jumping from the kitchen to the register to the bar to the dining room.
Now, as they seek to reinvent the tire-repair industry with their mobile tire service, Zohr, they know what it takes to keep those plates in the air.
Zohr was a business borne out of the brothers’ desire to run their own business and their lifelong love of cars. The two had spent their teenage and college years buying and selling cars that they would fix up and recondition.
“That’s how we first discovered how painful it was to get your tires replaced, and that’s where the idea for Zohr sort of sprung up,” Komal told me during my recent chat with him and his brother. “I sort of had an ‘aha’ moment when I realized that we’d been having so many issues getting tires replaced on these cars that we were buying and selling. What if the tire shop could come to us?”
Komal had an engineering background and Anoop was a self-described “side hustler,” always looking for new business ventures. They wondered: if ride-sharing services could take users to where they wanted to go, and food-delivery services could bring dinner to your door, why couldn’t a tire-repair service meet customers where they are?
“I think it was very apparent that this was a problem that a lot of people faced,” said Komal. “Tires are a commodity that almost everybody needs to move around on, and they’re extremely inconvenient to have serviced. So, it felt like a problem that was worth solving. So that’s why we ended up building it.”
Today, the company they started with a single minivan in Kansas City has now expanded into several markets in the Southwest and has attracted investors from Silicon Valley as it prepares to grow even further.
“There’s another 30 to 40 markets across North America that are very valuable to us, and we believe that there are a lot of customers out there who would value a service like ours,” Komal told me. “So, getting to those markets is our next big move. That’s sort of what we’ve been working towards for the past several years: building a playbook that allows us to get there. We’re hitting the go button.”
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