The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) announced that the top 15 applicants in the 2019 SEMA Launch Pad, presented by the Young Executives Network (YEN), have been selected and will advance to the six-week online voting stage. The public will be invited to vote July 29- September 8, thereby determining the finalists who will go on to pitch industry experts in front of a live audience at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas during the SEMA Show Student Program. One winner will be selected to win the top prize that includes $10,000 and exhibit space at the SEMA Show.
The 15 SEMA Launch Pad semifinalists are:
- Eric Amato (Radial Dynamics) / Product: Vortex Steering Reservoir
- Alan Brentzel (Traveling Tint) / Product: Removable Sun Shades & Window Tint
- Jason Denney (RIGd Supply) / Product: UltraSwing
- TJ Hammerle (Trac-Top) / Product: Trac-Top/Jeep Wrangler Top
- Thomas Judge (GJ Motorsports) / Product: 3rd Brake Lights
- Riley Koidahl (The Paddock) / Product: The Paddock
- Andrew Lien (KeyCages) / Product: KeyCages
- Reid Lunde (Kaizen Speed) / Product: Kaizen Relay
- Christopher Owens (Last Drop Wrench) / Product: The Last Drop Wrench
- Wesley Poole (Forged Authority) / Product: Aftermarket Truck Bed System
- Alexander Reid (Seville Auto Trim) / Product: GloTrim/Fiber Optic Light Guide see OEM
- Zachary Saylor (The Wiper Group) / Product: Wiper Packs
- John Schurman (Voxel Evolution/dba Luxe Auto Concepts) / Product: Luxe LightWrap
- Sarah Smith (SoCur) / Product: UV Cure Undercoat System for Automotive Refinish
- Justin Urban (Urban Custom Fabrications) / Product: DIY Custom Flatbeds
“We were very impressed with the 15 Launch Pad semifinalists,” said Nathan Ridnouer, vice president, Councils & Membership, SEMA. “Each year, the level of ingenuity and innovation gets better and better. We’re excited to share their ideas with the public and let them vote for their favorites.”
The Launch Pad is a competition designed to help and support young entrepreneurs in the automotive aftermarket. All 15 semifinalists will receive complimentary membership to SEMA, as well as registration and airfare (up to $500) to attend the SEMA Show Exhibitor Summit June 17-18 in Las Vegas. At the Exhibitor Summit, the semifinalists will learn new business strategies and film videos that will be used for the online voting which begins on July 29 at www.sema.org/launchpad.
The top five vote-getters will then pitch their products during the SEMA Launch Pad Live event Nov. 4, 201 at the SEMA Show. Hosted by industry celebrity Aaron Kaufman of Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman on the Discovery Network and owner of Arclight Fabrication, the Live Launch Pad competition will include a panel of industry experts serving as judges. One winner will receive that top prize of $10,000, a turn-key exhibit space with premium placement at the 2020 SEMA Show and free promotional support.
“While there is one grand-prize winner, all finalists will receive guidance and support and participate in the 2019 SEMA Show,” said Ridnouer. “The SEMA Launch Pad program is an amazing opportunity that inspires each participant to pursue their business goals and makes them aware of the avenues available to reach them in the specialty equipment market.”
Since 2013, the SEMA Launch Pad program has given young entrepreneurs, students and business owners ages 18 to 39 an opportunity to launch their products into the $43 billion automotive aftermarket industry. The program shows emerging business owners how to develop, market and boost their automotive products or services by teaching them business strategies used by industry experts. To learn more about SEMA Launch Pad and each of the 15 semifinalists, visit www.sema.org/launchpad.