Industry News

SEMA’s Search for Top Young Entrepreneurs Down to 15

DIAMOND BAR, CA (05.30.2019) – 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 from July 29 to 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, Nevada, 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 industry-leading SEMA Show.

The 15 SEMA Launch Pad semifinalists are:
Ericg 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, SEMA Vice President-Councils & Membership. “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 top 15 applicants in the 2019 SEMA Launch Pad will advance to the six-week online voting stage to determine the finalists who will go on to pitch industry experts in front of a live audience at the 2019 SEMA Show.

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 the Specialty Equipment Market Association (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, 2018, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. 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, free promotional support, and more.

“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 age 18-39 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.