SEMA LAUNCH PAD

  

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Roland Hence

2020 Launch Pad Winner

Five-Part SEMA Launch Pad Series Begins

Episode 3 - view more episodes

With an expanded prize package and increased benefits to applicants, the 9th annual SEMA Launch Pad competition included a record-high number of applications from entrepreneurs of new automotive-related products.

Fifteen semi-finalists have been announced and will now advance onto the next round. Watch the competition in action as each competitor pitches their products to a panel of iconic industry judges for a chance to secure their spot in the Top 5. The Top 5 candidates will move on to pitch their business ideas at the 2021 SEMA Show with the top two competing live on stage during the SEMA Banquet for a chance to win a grand prize package valued up to $100,000.

Roland Hence

2020 Launch Pad Winner

SEMI-FINALISTS

SEMI-FINALISTS

Cameron Crummie - Owner, MDV

Product: Guard – Modular LED Bluetooth-controlled brush guard for trucks and SUVs.

Adam Gruener - CEO, Off Road In Mind

Product: RGB-Recovery Gear Box – Can be used for recovery gear, emergency gear, or for any other storage needs and is typically attached to a spare tire on the back of a vehicle.

Jonathan Hurley - Owner, ToolBox Widget

Product: ToolBox Widget – Modular tool organizers that allow a mechanic to connect as many tool organizers together as needed, making them customizable to the mechanic.

Monika Kalenski - President and CEO, MEKMagnet

Product: Removable Trail Armor – Printed side body protection paneling utilizing nano-hold technology to stick to aluminum and non-metal vehicles. Protects vehicles from scrapes and scratches when off-roading while adding style with printed graphics.

Brendan McGrath - CEO, Dyme Performance Systems Inc.

Product: Rattlesnake Toolkit – Toolkit that can measure the exact length and angle of a hose assembly down to the millimeter, significantly reducing time and cost.

Robert McKeirnan - President and Managing Partner, Stratos Meccanica LLC

Product: Strada and Corsa Concealed Quick Disconnect Interface – Concealed interface for mounting a license plate to the front of a vehicle. Does not require having to drill holes into the front bumper and does not require tools to remove once installed.

D.J. Potter - CEO, Sawtooth

Product: Sawtooth STRETCH Tonneau Cover and Sawtooth SURFBOARD Cartop Carrier – Tonneau that loads, secures, and protects cargo taller than the pickup truck bed walls.

Alan Reyes - Co-founder and President, Xtrusion Designs LLC

Product: Modular Cargo Bedracks – Modular cargo solution that allows the usage of T-Slot aluminum profiles as its main component, allowing a complete customizable platform for the end user.

Kevin Robinson - President, TRAC LLC

Product: The TRAC Tire Rotation Assistance Cart is a tool designed to simply lift and remove a wheel from a vehicle during service. The tool is designed to reduce workplace injuries while increasing productivity. Use the TRAC and not your back. Available at Liftwithtrac.com. Proudly made in the USA.

Paul Rooprai - CEO, AutoBio LLC

Product: AutoBio Tags – 2.5-inch round cling that goes inside the windshield and is embedded with technology (QR & NFC) that serves as a portal to a car's story and is scannable with a smartphone. No app download required.

Michael Ruhs - Co-founder and CEO, TailHand

Product: TailHand – Customizable platform and accessories system that mounts directly to most pickup truck tailgates, providing an "extra hand" for securing tools and raw materials, transforming a tailgate into a versatile mobile-workstation.

Tom Sawarynski - Owner, Off-Road Research

Product: Smart Cap Module (SCM) – Allows any aftermarket shock absorber with a bridge or remote mounted reservoir to broadcast damper position to an external module or modules.

Michael Sullivan - Owner, Fox Products LLC

Product: RaZorTop Retractable Cap – Roll open tonneau cover that raises up to a full-size cap when needed and retracts when done using it by the press of a button on a wireless remote control.

Edward Tansingco - President, Thinskinz

Product: Thinskinz Door Protectors – Removable hard plastic interior door panel protectors that snap onto OEM interior door panels without fasteners or adhesives to protect doors against damage from objects or pets inside the vehicle.

Dustin Woolf - Owner, Woolfpack Racing

Product: Natural Nitrous – Stand-alone refrigerated system for the air induction of the motor. It lowers the air charge and dehumidifies the moisture which increases horsepower because there are dense oxygen atoms in the cylinder. It also lowers emissions because of the complete burn of the fuel.

2021 SEMA Launch Pad Series

TUCKER NAMED 2018 SEMA BATTLE OF THE BUILDERS® WINNER

-- SEMA Show vehicle builders to be featured in one-hour TV special on Velocity Network Jan. 7, 2019 –

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (Nov. 9, 2018) -- Kyle Tucker was crowned winner of the fifth-annual SEMA Battle of the Builders® competition for his 1969 Chevy Camaro during SEMA Ignited, the official SEMA Show after-party designed to celebrate the builders and showcase products from the trade-only Show.

Tucker's '69 Camaro (sponsored by exhibitor ARP) beat out the amazing builds of Top 4 finalists Eddie Pettus (1932 Willys aircraft refueling truck, BASF), Rod Nielsen (1972 Mazda R100, Tire Stickers), and Young Gun Kyle Kuhnhausen (1972 Nissan 240Z, Young Guns Regional Winner from Goodguys).

All four builders will be featured along with many other SEMA Show builders in a new episode of the TV special SEMA: Battle of the Builders. Hosted by Adrienne "AJ" Janic and racer Tanner Foust, fifth-annual SEMA: Battle of the Builders TV special will air on the Velocity Channel at 10 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2019.

The 2018 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition included submissions from seasoned builders as well as new customizers representing an elite group of individuals who demonstrated extreme talent, creativity and craftsmanship in modifying cars, trucks, and SUVs. The program was expanded this year to recognize winners in each of the four different categories, with Tucker also winning the Hot Rod title, Pettus earning the Truck/Off-Road honor, Nielsen scoring in Import/Sport Compact and Kuhnhausen in Young Guns (for builders 27 years and younger).

Industry experts RJ DeVera (Meguiar's), David Freiburger (Motor Trend Group), and Fred Williams (Motor Trend Group) narrowed down the field of nearly 300 entries, an increase in participation from last year, to the Top 10 in each category before selecting the Top 12 builds overall. The 12 finalists then took over judging duties and voted to name Tucker the overall winner.

Trepanier Crowned 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders Winner

-- SEMA Show vehicle builders to be featured in one-hour TV special on Velocity Network Jan. 2, 2018 –

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (Nov. 7, 2017) -- Troy Trepanier was announced as the winner of the 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition during SEMA Ignited, the official SEMA Show after-party held at the conclusion of the 2017 SEMA Show.

Trepanier's 1929 Ford Model-A Tudor sedan edged out the amazing builds of fellow Top 3 finalists Alan Johnson (1932 Ford Tudor) and Troy Ladd (1936 Packard roadster) for the title. The three builders will be featured along with many other SEMA Show builders in a new episode of the TV special "SEMA: Battle of the Builders," which will premiere on the Velocity Channel on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Since 2015, the unique one-hour program has aired on the Velocity network, giving viewers a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the SEMA Show, up-close footage of the vehicles and exclusive interviews with builders as they share their personal stories and journey to the premier automotive trade show in the world.

For many of the builders, SEMA Battle of the Builders is their chance to prove that they are among the industry's best. This year's competition began with nearly 300 applications from builders representing an elite group of individuals who have demonstrated extreme talent, creativity and craftsmanship in modifying cars, trucks, and SUVs.

For more details about SEMA Battle of the Builders visit www.sema.org/botb.


About SEMA and the SEMA Show

The SEMA Show is a trade show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a nonprofit trade association founded in 1963. Since the first SEMA Show debuted in 1967, the annual event has served as the leading venue bringing together manufacturers and buyers within the automotive specialty equipment industry. Products featured at the SEMA Show include those that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort, convenience and safety of cars and trucks. Additional details are available at www.SEMAShow.com or www.sema.org, 909/396-0289.

2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders Winner

Troy Trepanier - Manteno, IL

1929 Ford Model A Tudor | Flowmaster

2017 Top 3 Builder Finalists

Alan Johnson - Gadsen, AL

1932 Ford Tudor | Ford Motor Co.

Troy Ladd - Burbank, CA

1936 Packard Roadster | Clean Tools

Troy Trepanier - Manteno, IL

1929 Ford Model A Tudor | Flowmaster

2017 Top 12 Builder Finalists

Eddie Pettus - Cedar Rapids, IA

1963 Chevrolet Corvette | Billet Special, Booth #21359

The Corvette was a Select Six winner at Chicago World of Wheels, and received 1st in Class awards in best interiors, engine compartments, etc. The car has custom AME independent Chassis, floorpans, wheel houses, exhaust, bumpers, & interior, flush-mounted glass, machined trim parts, cross-ram EFI, Infinity box wireless control system, Kicker audio system, dash iPad interface, Tremec six-speed, extended body valences/rocker.

Andy Leach - Bennington, NE

1930 Ford Model A Coupe | Hot Rod Industry Alliance, HRIA Booth

Leach, owner of CAL Automotive Creations in Bennington, Neb., is a previous Ridler winner, 2014 Trend Setter of the Year, Ford Design Award winner, Barrett-Jackson Cup winner, and Top 10 Battle of the Builders finalist in 2015. The car has Art deco finned suspension and chassis, cast-looking interior and components. Coach-built body with attitude and elegance combining old-school hot rodding.

Alan Johnson - Gadsen, AL

1932 Ford Tudor | Ford Motor Co., Booth #22200

The project started with a clean 1932 Ford Tudor body canvas. All planned modifications were laid out before any cutting began. Certain dimensions were not determined until the body had been on and off the frame for the desired look. Johnson was a 2015 SEMA Battle of the Builders Top 3 finalist.

Mike Markin - Eau Claire, WI

1938 Graham 97 | Meguiar's, Booth #61004

Markin converted a four-door sedan into a two-door coupe and restyled the entire car. Every piece of the car has been modified, remade, or custom-made for the car but for two pieces. 2017 ISCA Grand Champion, 2017 ISCA Rod Champion, and 2016 Pirelli Great 8 Finalist

Scott Roth - South Burling, VT

1966 Chevrolet Corvette | Classic Instruments, V30

The car is a SplitRay 2017 Pirelli Great 8 cut down the middle and widened 6 3/8. It has a Z06-inspired interior, LS9 with a one-off supercharger system, and a six-speed transmission. Multiple computers provide complete control of the car with a Bluetooth device. I took over 20,000 hours to build.

Troy Trepanier - Manteno, IL

1929 Ford Model A Tudor | Flowmaster, Booth #22351

Built by Rad Rides by Troy, whose mission is to build the finest hand-crafted automobiles in the world.

Phil & Jeremy Gerber - Mundelein, IL

1969 Chevrolet Camaro | AutoMeter, Booth #22931

A modern race-inspired Camaro with an LT4 and T56, hand-built front spoiler and side skirts, custom lower rear diffuser/valance, one-off wheels, fully fabbed underhood sheet metal, and tremendous amounts of metal fab on the entire car. The Roadster Shop has delivered cars to compete specifically in Battle of the Builders the last four years.

Troy Ladd - Burbank, CA

1936 Packard Roadster | Clean Tools, Booth #23035

The Hollywood Hot Rods Packard roadster is a one-off steel coach built from design drawings.

Jeremy Miranda

1969 Chevrolet Camaro | Taylor/Vertex

The car features a Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis, 440ci LSX Motor Dry Sump w/ Flex Fuel, TR6060 Transmission, completely fabricated front and rear Valance, Rocker extensions, engine bay, flush-fitted front and rear glass, shaved drip rails, Infinity Wire multiplex system, custom one-off interior, custom Dakota digital gauge cluster, ADV1 wheels, and Wilwood brakes. "We're just doing what we love to do," said Miranda.

Larry Griffey - Knoxville, TN

1954 Chevrolet Corvette | Hot Rod Industry Alliance, HRIA Booth

Griffey is the owner of Hot Rods & Restorations in Knoxville, Tenn. He has been in business building hot rods and restoring concours, vintage and classic cars for over 36 years. After years of building cars for customers, he and his wife decided it was time to do a build for themselves.

Peter Nam - Garden Grove, CA

1995 Porsche 911 Carrera | Meguiar's, Booth #23643

Bespoke rebuild of the Porsche 993, an air-cooled car converted into a modern masterpiece that has full carbon-fiber wide-body construction.

Cris Payne - Taft, CA

1995 Ford Bronco | Vision Wheel, Booth #62004

Payne has participated, built, and designed over 68 builds prior to the 2017 SEMA Show. This year he brought 30 builds to the show with his name on them. "Battle of the Builders encompasses unique and innovative builds that make people's jaws drop and create buzz in person as well as social media," he said. "Well, my builds will do just that. They are one-off custom builds you won't see elsewhere."

Program Details

Program Details

TOP FIVE FINALISTS COMPETE FOR A GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE VALUED UP TO $92,000

  • The ultimate competition for entrepreneurs.
  • Takes place at the world's leading automotive B2B gathering, the SEMA Show.
  • Participants pitch their business idea to a panel of iconic industry judges at a live event.
  • Grand prize package valued at $92,000 includes $75,000 to be used for the benefit of one's business, brand exposure, access to business resources, face time with key industry influencers and more!
 

Prize Packages

GRAND PRIZE

Value: Up to $92,000

  • The finalist and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • $75,000 to be used for the benefit of your business Value: $75,000
  • 10' x 20' Turn-key Exhibit Space with Premium Placement at the 2022 SEMA Show* Approximate Value: $9,703
  • One full-page, four-color advertisement in SEMA News magazine Approximate Value: $5,885
  • Up to three hours of free custom scanning services at the SEMA Garage Value: $285
  • One-year Tech Transfer Subscription (must qualify; the subscription is forfeited and no substitute or amount will be awarded if not qualified to receive) Value: $360

SECOND PRIZE

Value: Up to $27,000

  • The finalist and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • $20,000 to be used for the benefit of your business Value: $20,000
  • One full-page, four-color advertisement in SEMA News magazine Approximate Value: $5,885
  • Up to three hours of free custom scanning services at the SEMA Garage Value: $285
  • One-year Tech Transfer Subscription (must qualify; the subscription is forfeited and no substitute or amount will be awarded if not qualified to receive) Value: $360

THIRD PRIZE

Value: Up to $12,000

  • The finalist and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • $5,000 to be used for the benefit of your business Value: $5,000
  • One full-page, four-color advertisement in SEMA News magazine Approximate Value: $5,885
  • Up to three hours of free custom scanning services at the SEMA Garage Value: $285
  • One-year Tech Transfer Subscription (must qualify; the subscription is forfeited and no substitute or amount will be awarded if not qualified to receive) Value: $360

FINALISTS PRIZE

5 Competitors: Total Prize Value: Up to $4,000

  • The finalist and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • Invitation to pitch at the Live Event for one of the Top Three prizes held during the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas November 2 – November 5, 2021.
  • SEMA Data Co-op: 50% discount effective for the first year for the entry tier, up to 39 part numbers. Value: $594
  • If not one of the Grand, Second or Third place prize winners, one - ½ page, four color advertisement in SEMA News Magazine. Approximate Value: $3,055.75
  • One Live Chat talking about how you started the business and experience at Launch Pad.
  • One-year Tech Transfer Subscription (must qualify; the subscription is forfeited and no substitute or amount will be awarded if not qualified to receive) Value: $360

SEMI-FINALISTS PRIZE

Value: Up to $8,000

  • One-year SEMA Membership starting the first day of the month after being selected as a Semi-Finalist. Value: up to $2,000**
  • One-year SEMA Council Membership of your choice. Value: Up to $150
  • Complimentary registration to the 2021 Exhibitor Summit, 2 nights of hotel and travel reimbursement for up to $500.
  • Complimentary booth* in the SEMA Launch Pad Pavilion at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas November 2 – November 5, 2021 Value: $4,508*
  • Two non-transferable exhibitor passes to the SEMA Show
  • Two non-transferable tickets to the SEMA Banquet Approximate Value: $100
  • Onsite Lead Retrieval Tool Value: $490

Prize Packages

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 or location within the Pavilion. Company does not accrue SEMA Show seniority points by reason of exhibiting at a 2021 SEMA Show kiosk booth in the New Products Showcase area or the turn-key exhibit space with premium placement in the Launch Pad Pavilion at the 2021 SEMA Show. Company may purchase up to two (2) additional exhibitors passes beyond the complimentary allotment of two (2) exhibitor badges for use by company staff and/or spouse.

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

*Please review the full Terms & Conditions for prize package

JUDGES


Chip Foose

Chip was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California and automobiles were definitely in his blood. Chip's first job was working for his father's company, Project Design. By age twelve, Chip already had five years of experience under his belt, and had also painted his first car, a Porsche 356.

Early on, a chance meeting from Alex Tremulus, the designer of the "Tucker", was Chip's motivation to attend Art Center, where he majored in automotive product design and graduated in 1990 with honors.

Chip's career profile is staggering; in 1986 he was Staff Designer/Fabricator for the Asha Corporation, eventually becoming director of design in 1989. Chip was responsible for conceptualizing new proprietary ideas and fabrication of prototypes for the OEM's. Other work has included: Stehrenberger Design as an automotive designer, creating illustrations and conceptual models; Baker Sportronics, as chief designer and fabricator of electric vehicles used in the NFL and MLB; and of course, working with his father, designing and building street rods, customs, studio vehicles and show cars for films such as Blade Runner, RoboCop, and Gone in 60 Seconds.

Chip started Foose Design in 1984, in Santa Barbara, California. After working with Boyd Coddington at Hot Rods by Boyd, he relocated Foose Design to Huntington Beach, California in 1999. Foose Design is an automotive and product design Development Company. His company specializes in illustration, graphics, ideation, model making, surfacing and complete construction of automobiles and automotive related products. These products are available to private individuals, automobile manufacturers and television and film producers. In November of 1997, Chip was inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame at Peterson Publishing's 50th anniversary, held at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This induction made Chip the youngest member ever inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame at the age of 31.

2004 proved to be as exhilarating as the past years, Chip started a television series called "Overhaulin'", which began airing on the TLC network late April of 2004. Owners were tricked while having their prized vehicle restored by Chip and his team in a week's time. With an original run of 5 seasons, the series made nearly 90 automotive dreams come true. In 2009, Chip made a return to television, serving as a guest judge on the Discovery Channel's "Ultimate Car Build-Off." From 2010-2011 he also hosted the documentary series "American Icon: The Hot Rod" on Discovery's HD Theater. Discovery Communication's Velocity network relaunched "Overhaulin'" with all new episodes in October 2012, running for 4 more seasons. The show was relaunched once again with Motor Trend in 2019!


Jared Hare

Jared Hare is the President and Founder of Addictive Desert Designs. Jared started his business by making hand fabricated parts in his garage in 2007 and it only took off from there. Currently, he holds nearly 20 patents, owns four businesses, and is the board of directors for Huron Capital. In his free time, he enjoys lifting weights, golfing, traveling and mentoring new people within the aftermarket industry.


Myles Kovacs

Myles Kovacs is a leading voice of the influential, trend-setting youth segment. Kovacs has propelled DUB Publishing, Inc., and its family of companies into an annual $50 million-plus business. He has partnered with such organizations as Best Buy, Chrysler LLC, Energizer, General Motors, Mattel, Microsoft, Mobil 1, NASCAR, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart, targeting the youth market and the urban mindset, young-adult culture. Newsweek named Kovacs one of the nation's 10 Big Thinkers for Big Business in the 21st Century. He's been featured as one of Entrepreneur Magazine's Top 25 Young Millionaires and The New York Times said, "When DUB talks, Detroit listens."


Alex Parker

Alex Parker is the CMO and Executive Vice President of Redline Detection, the world's leader in diagnostic leak detection technology and winner of the 2020 SEMA Manufacturer of the Year Award. She utilizes her professional background in psychology, digital marketing, and publishing to generate great brand buzz around her company with authenticity and transparency.

REID LUNDE

2019 Launch Pad Winner

Program Timeline

  • Application Period: April 12, 2021 – May 30, 2021
  • Semi-finalists (15) announced: June 15, 2021
  • SEMA Launch Pad Competition Finals: November 4, 2021 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas

Basic Requirements

Basic Requirements

  • Applicants: do not need to be a SEMA member.
  • Participation: 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.
  • Exhibitor Summit Travel (15 semi-finalists): 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.
  • SEMA Show Travel (15 semi-finalists): 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.

Past Winners

Past Winners

About

The SEMA Launch Pad is the automotive specialty equipment's ultimate competition for budding entrepreneurs who are ready to introduce their products to a worldwide audience.

While the competition has supported young creators since 2013, the age limit has been removed to make it easier for more participants to qualify. There's also more cash prizes, and more participants than ever will be featured in SEMA's publications and social media channels.

If you have a product or service for the automotive industry, we want to hear from you!