By Ashley Reyes
Industry icons and veterans narrowed the list of contenders for the SEMA Launch Pad competition down to five finalists, who will go on to compete for the grand prize during the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, November 2–5. The SEMA Launch Pad is the automotive aftermarket’s premier product-pitching competition designed to encourage automotive entrepreneurship and help inventors launch new products into the marketplace.
Now in its ninth year, the 2021 SEMA Launch Pad expanded to include more prize packages and the largest grand prize to date, valued at up to $100,000. The competition also included a record high number of applications, reaching nearly 200.
The 2021 SEMA Launch Pad was chronicled for the first time through a five-episode streaming series that debuted on the SEMA YouTube Channel. Through the series, viewers witnessed 15 semifinalists—whose products will all be on display at the 2021 SEMA Show—present their products to a panel of judges made up of industry veterans Chip Foose (Foose Design), Jared Hare (Addictive Desert Designs), Myles Kovacs (DUB) and Alex Parker (Redline Detection). The five selected to advance to the next round taking place at the 2021 SEMA Show are:
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.
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.
Kevin Robinson, President, TRAC LLC
Product: TRAC Tire Rotation Assistance Cart – 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.
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.
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.
“Not only did we receive more applications than ever before, but the quality of the applications is impressive,” said Ted Wentz, SEMA Board Member and chair of the SEMA Launch Pad Task Force. “The products represent such a variety and spectrum of items that support vehicle customization.”
As one of the judges, Parker—whose company, Redline Detection, won the Manufacturer of the Year award in 2020—said, “These entrepreneurs are absolute rock stars. It’s been an honor to learn about their businesses and heartbreaking to have to send so many of them home. The top five finalists reflect the best innovators in our industry: They are smart, hardworking, and passionate about their products.”
To watch the video in which the judges selected the five finalists, or to learn more about SEMA Launch Pad, visit www.sema.org/launchpad.