By Juan Torres
SEMA has debuted the first episode in its new five-episode streaming series chronicling the ninth year of its Launch Pad competition. The series showcases the ingenuity of rising entrepreneurs in the automotive industry as they pitch their new product or service to a panel of industry experts.
Fifteen individuals have been selected out of a record number of applicants last spring to advance to the semi-final round. From there, five of them will be chosen to compete for cash and prizes at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, where the series finale will be filmed before it airs on the History Channel on a future date.
One winner will be selected to win the grand-prize package valued at $92,000, which includes $75,000 to help launch their innovative new product. The remaining 14 semi-finalists will also receive prizes that will help them in their entrepreneurial journey.
The semi-finalists are:
- Cameron Crummie – Owner, MDV
- Adam Gruener – CEO, Off Road In Mind
- Jonathan Hurley – Owner, ToolBox Widget
- Monika Kalenski – President and CEO, MEK Magnet
- Brendan McGrath – CEO, Dyme Performance Systems Inc.
- Robert McKeirnan – President and Managing Partner, Stratos Meccanica LLC
- D.J. Potter – CEO, Sawtooth
- Alan Reyes – Co-founder and President, Xtrusion Designs LLC
- Kevin Robinson – President, TRAC LLC
- Paul Rooprai – CEO, AutoBio LLC
- Michael Ruhs – Co-founder and CEO, TailHand
- Tom Sawarynski – Owner, Off-Road Research
- Michael Sullivan – Owner, Fox Products LLC
- Edward Tansingco – President, Thinskinz
- Dustin Woolf – Owner, Woolfpack Racing
“It’s a highlight every year to give up-and-coming entrepreneurs the chance of a lifetime,” says Nathan Ridnouer, vice president of councils and membership. “This year, we’re even more excited to bring audiences a more comprehensive and personal look at our annual competition; it’s like ‘Shark Tank’ for the automotive aftermarket industry.”
Past winners of SEMA Launch Pad include Roland Hence of FrontLane Inc. (2020); Reid Lunde of Kaizen Speed (2019); and Matt Beenen of Builtright Industries (2018).
The first episode of “2021 SEMA Launch Pad” is available for viewing now on the SEMA Show YouTube channel, with the remaining episodes debuting on each Tuesday from October 5–26. For more information about the 9th annual SEMA Launch Pad Competition, visit www.sema.org/launchpad.