Watch the 2020 SEMA Launch Pad Competition

Program Details

Compete for a $25,000+ Grand Prize

  • Grand Prize includes $10,000 to be used for the benefit of your business, brand exposure, access to business resources, face time with key industry influencers and more!
  • The ultimate automotive competition for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39.
  • Takes place at the world's largest B2B gathering, the SEMA Show.
  • Participants pitch their business idea to a panel of iconic industry judges at a live event.

Prize Packages

GRAND PRIZE: 1 WINNER – Total Prize Value $25,000+

  • The finalist, top ten and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • $10,000 to be used for the benefit of your business Value: $10,000.00
  • 10' x 10' Turn-key Exhibit Space with Premium Placement at the following year's SEMA Show* Value: $2,695.00
  • One full-page, four-color advertisement in SEMA News magazine Value: $5002.25
  • Up to three hours of free custom scanning services at the SEMA Garage Value: $195.00
  • One-year Tech Transfer Subscription (must qualify) Value: $360.00

FINALISTS PRIZE: 5 COMPETITORS – Total Prize Value $7,000+

  • The top ten and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • Invitation to pitch in the final competition round for the grand prize
  • SEMA Data Co-op: 50% discount effective for the first year for the entry tier, up to 39 part numbers. Value: $594.00
  • One - ½ page, four color advertisement in SEMA News Magazine. Value: $3055.75
  • One Live Chat on YEN's Facebook page talking about how you started the business and experience at Launch Pad.
  • Invitation to participate in the SEMA Launch Pad Roundtable event

TOP TEN: 10 COMPETITORS – Total Prize Value $3,500+

  • The semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • Complimentary Kiosk within the SEMA Launch Pad Corral at the competition year's SEMA Show
  • Product inclusion in the competition year's SEMA Show New Products Showcase*
  • One-hour mentoring session with an industry leader
  • Widespread awareness of your brand and business

Semi-Finalists (15) Prize Package - Total Prize Value: $750.00 - $2650.00

  • One-year SEMA Membership. $100.00 - $2000.00**
  • $500 award to be used toward flight cost to the competition year's Exhibitor Summit. Value: $500.00
  • Complimentary registration to the competition year's Exhibitor Summit, 2 nights of hotel and meals at the event
  • License to use the *SEMA-edited pitch video on company marketing deliverables.
  • Widespread awareness of your business through SEMA communication channels
  • One-year SEMA Council Membership of your choice. Value: $150.00
  • One *professionally edited Launch Pad three-minute video to be hosted on the SEMA YouTube Channel.

All award taxes are the sole responsibility of the award-winning company. Tax liability is based on the value of the prizes. All award winners must complete a W-9 in order to receive a prize.

*No changes are permitted to the booth layout. Company does not accrue SEMA Show seniority points by reason of exhibiting at a SEMA Show kiosk booth in the New Products Showcase area or the turn-key exhibit space with premium placement at the SEMA Show.

**SEMA membership dues are based on business type and annual sales, ranging from $100 to $2,000. Maximum value of SEMA membership is $2,000.

*Please review the full Terms & Conditions for prize package.

Program Timeline

  • Applications period: March 15, 2021 – May 2, 2021
  • Semi-finalists (15) announced: May 17, 2021
  • Voting Period: August 2 - September 10, 2021
  • Top Ten competitors - (10 people) and Finalists (5 people) will be notified: September 17, 2021
  • SEMA Launch Pad Competition Finals: November 2, 2021 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas

Basic Requirements

  • Applicants do not need to be a SEMA and/or a YEN member, but must be under the age of 40 (at the time of the closing of the competition year's SEMA Show)
  • The business owner, company's leading executive (i.e., president, CEO, CFO, COO), or vice president is the participant on behalf of the company.
  • Functioning Product/Service: The competing business must offer a product or service that is a functioning prototype, functioning concept, or currently for sale.
  • Semi-finalists Travel: Travel to the Exhibitor Summit (Las Vegas, NV). SEMA provides event registration, hotel, meals onsite and a $500 Grant to be used towards flight expenses.
  • Finalists Travel: Travel to the SEMA Show (Las Vegas, NV) at their own expense to exhibit and compete in the live event. The participant in the original application must make the business pitch before the SEMA Launch Pad judges. (No substitutes)
  • Taxes: All taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize-winning company. Tax liability is based on the value of the prizes.
  • Intellectual Property: A patent or trademark registration is not required but by entering the competition, the contest participant certifies that he/she has ownership rights to any intellectual property rights (i.e., trademark, copyright, patent, proprietary information) for the company and product/service being marketed, or authorization from the owner of such rights.
  • Residency: Open only to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years of age (except residents of Alabama and Nebraska, who must be 19 years of age or older) and who have a valid email address.

**Please review the full Terms & Conditions and Selection Criteria.

2020 Launch Pad Judges

Daryl Sampson

Director of Marketing, Turn 14 Distribution

Dan Kahn

President & CEO, Kahn Media Inc., SEMA Board Member

Jonathan Mill

Alloy Studios, 2013 SEMA Launch Pad Winner

Melanie White

President, Hellwig Products, SEMA Board Member

Brian Reese

CEO, The Retrofit Source

Judging Criteria

All Launch Pad finalists will compete in the live event where they will present a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges on their product/service. The contestants will be scored based on their performance in the following categories: People, Product, and Process.


2020 SEMA Launch Pad Winner

Roland Hence, FrontLane, Inc.
Roland Hence, Director of FrontLane, Inc. was named the 2020 SEMA Launch Pad with his product Impulse - Emergency Brake Light. The Impulse is a wireless, battery-powered, emergency brake light that reduces rear-end collisions by pulsing 8 ultra-bright LEDs under extreme braking situations to alert the following driver up to 50% quicker. Impulse can be installed on any passenger vehicle with a standard back windshield in seconds and has a 4-year battery life.

2020 SEMA Launch Pad Top Five Finalists

Khanjan Desai , Alchemy
Co-Founder & CEO
Product: ExoShield
ExoShield is a thin, transparent film that stops rock chips by increasing the impact resistance of the windshield by 6X. The advanced safety features in most modern cars use sensors that sit behind the windshield. This has driven up windshield replacement costs by 3-5X even for mid-level vehicles. ExoShield is powered by Alchemy’s proprietary nanocoatings, which allows it to be both impact & scratch resistant and prevents expensive windshield replacements for vehicle owners.

Matt Rafeld , BeachComber Offroad
Product: Stowaway Door
The Stowaway Door is designed for Jeep owners to enjoy door-free days without worrying about rain, cold or a little mud on the seats. When not in use, the soft-door folds to fit under the rear seat or anywhere you could store a small tent.

Eric Rivera , Dirt Dynamix
Product: Truck Accessories
Established August 2019 we designed and brought to market our Universal Truck Bed Mount. The simplest, easiest and most cost effective way to offer shade via umbrella and or mount any flag pole in the bed of any truck. Work, Race, Play utilize your truck bed in any truck manner and one could benefit from our mount.

Roland Hence , FrontLane, Inc.
Product: Impulse - Emergency Brake Light
The Impulse is a wireless, battery-powered, emergency brake light that reduces rear-end collisions by pulsing 8 ultra-bright LEDs under extreme braking situations to alert the following driver up to 50% quicker. Impulse can be installed on any passenger vehicle with a standard back windshield in seconds and has a 4-year battery life.

Justin Bradshaw , REVER
Co-Founder & President
Product: Mobile App
REVER is a mobile app and website for powersports enthusiasts to discover, track and share routes. We have thousands of recommended roads for sports cars and off highway users as well as Offline Maps, Turn by Turn Directions, Friend tracker to view other people in your group in real time, weather alerts, and the first CarPlay compatible app of its kind for this specific audience.

2020 Launch Pad Host

Aaron Kaufman

ArcLight Fabrication

If you’ve watched any sort of motoring program on Discovery Channel in the last five years there’s a very good chance you already know the name Aaron Kaufman. But there’s much more to this fabricator than making race cars to compete in a variety of race series around the United States and making F-100 parts out of his new shop, ArcLight Fabrication, in Dallas, Texas.

Aaron’s fabrication experience began as many others have, by needing a part for his Jeep Cherokee. Aaron, always having been mechanically minded but with very little fabrication experience under his belt ordered the part for his Jeep to find that when he got it he could have easily made the part himself. From that experience he swore to himself that he would do everything in his power to make his own parts whenever able. With this new mentality on how he worked on cars, trucks, and motorcycles his experience level quickly grew, and he began to attract attention at local shops in his hometown of Fort Worth.

From there he worked at a few shops in DFW, including Drop Zone, his own shop on Main Street in Dallas called No Name Shop, Gas Monkey Garage, to finally opening his own shop with the aim of producing parts for Ford F-100s. Those plans were temporarily put on hold when Discovery Channel came to him and asked him to do his own show so for the first nine months ArcLight Fabrication became a race shop of sorts, building cars to compete in a variety of races to be documented for the show, Shifting Gears. With season one of Shifting Gears in the bag ArcLight has returned to its original goal of producing parts.