More than 75 young automotive industry innovators and entrepreneurs entered for the chance to present their new product or service to a judging panel made up of industry leaders for the sixth annual SEMA Launch Pad Powered by YEN. The grand-prize winner will receive a package to help launch their business to the next level, including a booth at next year’s SEMA Show, and to formally introduce their product or service to the industry, along with a $10,000 award to be used for the benefit of the winner’s business.
The votes are in and the top 10 finalists have been determined. These young entrepreneurs will compete Oct. 29 in the live event held in the Westgate Theater before the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
In addition to the live competition, Show attendees can meet the contestants and ask questions about their products at the Launch Pad Corral, located in the Performance Pavilion. Each finalist will have a kiosk-style booth where they will be on hand to dive into the details of their products/services and discuss potential partnerships.
Below are the 2018 SEMA Launch Pad finalists, with company and product descriptions from SEMA:
- Ryan Amesbury, founder of Amped Technologies
-The LevelUp allows electric-vehicle owners to install a fast (Level 2) charger in their garage without having to pay an electrician to install a 240-volt outlet. This (Level 2) charger increases the charging speed from four miles to 25 miles of range per hour of charge.
- Matt Beenen, owner of BuiltRight Industries
-Product: Storage and Organizational Solutions
-The BuiltRight Industries Bedside Rack System adds modular mounting panels to the inside walls of a normally featureless truck bed, enabling users to quickly and securely mount their choice of tools, equipment and accessories. These OEM fit-and-finish steel panels require no modification. Easy installation with basic hand tools.
- Todd Earsley, co-founder of My Shop Assist
-Product: My Shop Assist
-My Shop Assist is a web-based project management system designed specifically for aftermarket shops. Users can schedule jobs, delegate tasks, log hours, track parts orders, store pictures, create invoices, determine employee efficiency and communicate progress to customers. It even integrates with QuickBooks to track accounting.
- Stephen Hale, partner in Stohd Outdoor
-Product: Exoskeleton Utility Trail Door
-The Stohd Exoskeleton is a patented trail door system for Jeep Wranglers. The doors have a protruding design to which specifically engineered attachments are mounted, such as folding chairs, camp stools, lockable high-impact dry/cool storage boxes, recovery gear/ramps, off-road tools, first aid kits and more.
- Jonathan Hurley, owner of ToolBox Widget LLC
-Product: ToolBox Widget
-ToolBox Widget is a 100-percent modular tool organizing system for a toolbox. Individual wrench organizers allow the customer to add or subtract the amount of holders as needed, allowing for complete customization of their toolbox. Features include strong magnets, missing tool indicators, changeable size labels and a flexible material.
- Zach Kowalik, co-owner of Quick Covers
-Product: Quick Covers Corrosion Solutions
-Quick Covers are precision-molded plastic covers that fit snugly over rusty areas on your vehicle. They restore the original appearance, yet cost only a fraction of the price of traditional repair. They can’t rust, and combined with a corrosion inhibiting pretreatment, will provide a like-new appearance for years.
- Christopher Owens, owner and CEO of Creative Fabrication and Coatings
-Product: Last Drop Wrench
-The Last Drop Wrench allows users to drain filters in a safe and controlled manner before removal by puncturing them while still attached, making the traditional messy oil change a thing of the past.
- Kansas Sartin, owner of PAKMULE LLC
-Product: Automotive Cargo Products
-PAKMULE is a fully TIG-welded cargo carrier. One-hundred-percent aluminum, PAKMULE will never rust, weighs 42 pounds, and yet is burly enough to handle 500 lbs. of cargo. It is designed to easily secure and allow access to gear while a proprietary locking, anti-wobble connection keeps everything secure.
- George Schafer, president of SMS Auto Parts Co.
-Product: Exposed Racks
-Exposed Racks is a patented roof rack system that has zero effect on vehicle aerodynamics when not in use. The Quick Clip system allows users to click-in accessories, such as kayak mounts, in less than one second. Fits various vehicle rooftops.
- Ed Uehling, co-founder of King Tailgates
-The KT1 is an upgraded aftermarket replacement option for OEM tailgates. The utility-patented design splits the construction of a standard tailgate to allow for the incorporation of enclosed seating, dual oversized cup holders, a removable Bluetooth speaker and USB charging ports.