By Juan Torres
Fifteen entrepreneurs and small-business leaders recently gathered at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, California, to pitch their automotive-related products for a chance to win prizes, cash and business support as part of the 10th annual SEMA Launch Pad competition.
From left, Jared Hare, Myles Kovacs, Chip Foose and Alex Parker recently listened to product pitches from the 15 semifinalists in this year's SEMA Launch Pad competition at the SEMA Garage.
The 15 semifinalists who were chosen from a vast array of applicants presented impressive sales pitches, interactive demonstrations, amazing product innovations and answered tough questions from four massively successful industry leaders serving as this year’s Launch Pad judging panel: Chip Foose (Foose Design), Jared Hare (Addictive Desert Designs), Myles Kovacs (TIS Wheels) and Alex Parker (Redline Detection). The judges spent hours carefully listening, learning and evaluating the diverse products that included custom accessories and tools, performance aftermarket products, tire kits, retrofit kits and mobile apps for the automotive community. Products also included those targeting the growing electric vehicle (EV) community and demands related to advanced driver assist systems (ADAS).
“This year’s SEMA Launch Pad competition is fierce,” said Launch Pad judge Parker. “The judges were blown away by the level of innovation, creativity and sheer grit that these competitors brought. Their passion and their products are so inspirational, and each of these competitors should be very proud.”
The 2022 SEMA Launch Pad semifinalists who recently pitched their products are:
- Fabian Araujo, COO, Armadillo Designs Inc.
Armadillo Shell: Camper shell with a retractable roof aimed primarily at the construction industry and for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Andrew Auble, President/Co-founder, GlueTread
Sidewall Repair Kits: Kit that allows consumers to repair the sidewall of their off-road tires without removing the tire from the vehicle.
- Robert Carale, Founder, Airflex Tire Inflator Systems
Automatic Tire Inflator: An aftermarket adapter system that can be installed between a rotor and a wheel to allow air from an onboard compressor to inflate and deflate tires while a vehicle is moving.
- Jesse Freeman, CEO, True Blue Motorsport
6-Speed Automatic Transmission Retrofit Kit: System used to retrofit older-model RWD and 4WD vehicles with small transmission tunnels with a 6-speed automatic.
- Dustin Golat, Co-owner, GolaTTaylor Tools
Thread Wizard: Tool that removes all grime, dirt, surface rust and fouling from a bolt in a fraction of the time when compared to traditional methods.
- Jake Hamann, Founder and CEO, Autix Automotive Inc.
Autix: Platform dedicated to highlighting not just a vehicle, but the owner behind the wheel, their unique story and a curated value metric for their specialty ride.
- Jacob Hawksworth, CEO, Hypercraft
HyperPack: Modular EV battery pack system that allows builders to easily configure a custom high-voltage battery system for their electric vehicle project.
- Conrad Mohr IV, CEO, ACME HPL
ACME Big Stick Traction Enhancement Module: Rear suspension module that rearranges factory IRS into a four-link suspension for better traction and adjustability on Dodge/Mopar performance vehicles.
- Susan Pieper, Founder and CEO, DMOS Collective Inc.
Stealth and Delta Car Shovels: Premium indestructible shovels that are easy to stow and mount on various vehicle racks and platforms.
- Frank Terlep, Co-founder and CEO, Auto Techcelerators LLC
Test Drive CoPilot Technology Platform: System designed to help properly perform, document, and invoice for ADAS safety system verification testing, dynamic calibrations, seat belt function tests and more.
- Irvin Vance, Founder, Vance Product Design LLC
Quick Lift Engine Stand: Tool that gives users the ability to lift an engine without the use of an engine crane for inspection, repair or modifications.
- Daniel Whittington, Owner, VenomAire LLC
Smart Air Intakes: Air intake that uses a patented Force Air Induction (FAI) technology to improve air intake stability for volumetric efficiency.
- Andrew Wiess, President, ROV LLC
Truck Trolley: Roller tray accessory that improves the convenience and accessibility of truck beds by allowing users access to items that would normally be a challenge to reach.
- Kevin Robinson, President, TRAC LLC
TRAC Tire Jack: Tool designed to make removing or installing a wheel/tire from a vehicle safer, simpler and easier.
- Kai Tan, CEO, RevMatch LLC
RevMatch Smartphone App: Digital app that allows gearheads the ability to manage vehicle projects from end-to-end with real-time parts data and inspirational content—all in the palm of their hands.
Each semifinalist will receive a one-year SEMA membership, a complimentary booth in the SEMA Launch Pad Pavilion at the 2022 SEMA Show in November, as well as other items totaling to a prize package valued at $4,000. Five finalists, who will be announced later this year, will advance to pitch their products at the 2022 SEMA Show, where they will compete for a grand prize that includes free advertising space in SEMA News, use of the services from the SEMA Garage, discounts on SEMA Data and thousands of dollars in cash for a total value of up to $92,000.
The competition will be featured in a nationwide TV special airing after the SEMA Show. To learn more about SEMA Launch Pad, including details on the 15 semifinalists, visit www.sema.org/launchpad.