By Ashley Reyes
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. At 181, the number surpasses the previous high of 120 applications.
“Based on interest in the SEMA Launch Pad, innovation and creativity in the industry are stronger than ever” said Ted Wentz, SEMA Board Member and Chair of the SEMA Launch Pad Task Force. “Not only did we receive more applications than ever before, but the quality of the applications is impressive. The products represent such a variety and spectrum of items that support vehicle customization.”
Fifteen applicants have been selected as semi-finalists and will advance to the next round. The applicants will be narrowed down further, down to five finalists who will pitch their business ideas at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. There, a panel of judges will select three winners to receive cash prizes in the amount of $5,000, $20,000, and $75,000 to be used for the benefit of their business.
The 2021 SEMA Launch Pad Semi-finalists are:
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, MEK Magnet
Product: 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
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.
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.
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 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.
To learn more about SEMA Launch Pad and each of the 15 semi-finalists, visit www.sema.org/launchpad.