ENTREPRENEUR Mike Welch is scaling up the growth of his business in the US after launching America’s first nationwide mobile tyre installation service.

Tirescanner, the online tyre business Mr Welch first launched in Florida in 2018, launched a national next-day home installation in 35 US states last month and plans to extend the service to 50 US states by 2021.

Mr Welch sold his previous online tyre business, Peebles-based Blackcircles.com, to Michelin in 2015 for £50 million.

“Our focus from here is scaling up our growth, sticking to the formula we have established and fulfilling our ambition of creating the world’s best online tire retailer,” Mr Welch said. “The market opportunity here is $50bn annually and we are well placed to realise a significant slice of that opportunity by delivering for customers every day. “

Mr Welch said US motorists could now access a quick nationwide next-day tyre install service, across a network of more than 1,500 retail stores and a mobile van installation service in 35 states, covering 5,000 zip codes.

The new service enables customers to receive next-day, at-home installation of any brand or size of tyre. To take advantage of the at-home installation service, customers can select the ‘mobile install’ option after entering their car and tyre selection on the Tirescanner website.

Tirescanner hopes to provide additional value to working motorists and businesses who can’t afford downtime and need to keep their vehicles and fleets on the road.

“We anticipate our new mobile offering will prove very popular with businesses and time-poor consumers,” Mr Welch said. “It fits perfectly alongside our world-class brick and mortar network of independent partners, which now gives us coverage across 48 states.”

When he launched Tirescanner in 2018, Mr Welch described it as 'North America’s first online portal for bricks and mortar tire retailers' and financed the business with an initial $1m of his own money.

He attributed the growth of the business to “hard work and the speedy hiring of a brilliant team of very focused executives split between bases in Edinburgh and Charlotte, North Carolina.”

“The ability to offer a next day install nationwide is a key differentiator for the Tirescanner business,” Mr Welch added. “We have established the perfect platform to scale from.”

He said Tirescanner was particularly focused on supporting the mid-sized and smaller retailers, who can integrate easily into the online platform. The retailer keeps their margin, and only pays a modest commission when a sale has been processed.

“Our mission is simple, to deliver the world’s best tyre buying experience – by bringing together great value, the most convenient purchasing experience, and market-leading customer care,” Mr Welch added.

Mr Welch was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2015 for services to business and his support for adoption and fostering charities. Born in Liverpool, he left school aged 16 and began working as a tyre fitter.

He quit in 1996, just weeks after joining, to launch his first tyre retail business, MW Motorforce. He ran the company from a room in his parents’ house with a mobile phone and help from a £500 grant from youth charity The Prince's Trust. Mr Welch moved to Edinburgh after being head-hunted in 2000 to work as new business and e-commerce manager at Kwit-Fit, the tyre business founded by entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer. He went on to set up Blackcircles.com in 2001. The business had a turnover of £10,000 in year one, but grew into Europe’s number one online tire retailer.

Mr Welch also owns Atterley.com, an online fashion store, and is an investor in Houseology.com, the online interior design store. His charitable interests include the Welch Trust, which aims to provide grants to support children and young people.

Mr Welch said he was currently based between Miami and Edinburgh, building the Tirescanner team and establishing the business model.