The SEMA Launch Pad powered by YEN is the premiere young entrepreneur automotive competition. The program offers innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39 a platform at the world’s largest B2B gathering—the SEMA Show—to pitch their business to a panel of iconic industry judges at a live event. Ten finalists will compete for the ultimate prize designed to take their product to the next level through brand exposure, access to business resources, face time with key industry influencers and more!

Program Timeline

  • Applications due: June 4, 2018
  • 15 semi-finalists selected: June 7, 2018
  • Semi-finalists film three-minute pitch video at the 2018 SEMA Exhibitor Summit in Las Vegas: June 25-27, 2018
  • Voting Period: July 30-September 6, 2018
  • 10 finalists will be notified: September 7, 2018
  • SEMA Launch Pad Live Event: October 29, 2018 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas
  • SEMA Launch Pad Roundtable: October 31, 2018 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas

Prize Packages


  • The finalist and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • $10,000 to be used for the benefit of your business
  • Turn-key Exhibit Space with Premium Placement at the 2019 SEMA Show*
  • One full-page, four-color advertisement in SEMA News magazine
  • Up to three hours of free custom scanning services at the SEMA Garage
  • SEMA Data Co-op: 50% off supplier monthly membership fees for your first year (up to a $3,600 value)
  • SEMA Manufacturers' Rep Network: Distribution/sales support consultation meeting
  • Family Events Group Event Marketing/Advertising package worth $5,000. (Note: this is non-transferable and must be used within one year)

FINALISTS PRIZE: 10 participants

  • The semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • 2018 SEMA Show kiosk booth in the Performance Pavilion*
  • Two exhibitor passes to the SEMA Show
  • Two tickets to the SEMA Banquet
  • One-hour mentoring session with an industry leader
  • Widespread awareness of your brand and business

SEMI-FINALISTS PRIZE: 15 participants

  • One year SEMA Membership.
  • FREE registration to the 2018 Exhibitor Summit with three nights of hotel and meals at the event (June 21 & June 22)
  • $500 award to be used toward flight cost to the 2018 Exhibitor Summit.
  • Widespread awareness of your business through SEMA communication channels

All award taxes are the sole responsibility of the award-winning company. Tax liability is based on the value of the prizes. All award winners must complete a W-9 in order to receive a prize.

*No changes are permitted to the booth layout. Company does not accrue SEMA Show seniority points by reason of exhibiting at a 2018 SEMA Show kiosk booth in the New Products Showcase area or the turn-key exhibit space with premium placement at the 2019 SEMA Show.

*Please review the full Terms & Conditions for prize package.

Basic Requirements

  • Applicants do not need to be a SEMA and/or a YEN member, but must be under the age of 40 (at the time of the closing of the 2018 SEMA Show on November 2, 2018)
  • The business owner, company's leading executive (i.e., president, CEO, CFO, COO), or vice president (with ownership stake) is the participant on behalf of the company.
  • Functioning Product/Service: The competing business must offer a product or service that is a functioning prototype, functioning concept, or currently for sale.
  • Semi-finalists Travel: Travel to the Exhibitor Summit (Las Vegas, NV). SEMA provides event registration, hotel, meals onsite and a $500 Grant to be used towards flight expenses.
  • Finalists Travel: Travel to the SEMA Show (Las Vegas, NV) at their own expense to exhibit and compete in the live event. The participant in the original application must make the business pitch before the SEMA Launch Pad judges. (No substitutes)
  • Taxes: All taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize-winning company. Tax liability is based on the value of the prizes.
  • Intellectual Property: A patent or trademark registration is not required but by entering the competition, the contest participant certifies that he/she has ownership rights to any intellectual property rights (i.e., trademark, copyright, patent, proprietary information) for the company and product/service being marketed, or authorization from the owner of such rights.
  • Residency: Open only to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years of age and who have a valid email address.

**Please review the full Terms & Conditions and Selection Criteria.

2018 SEMA Launch Pad Semi-Finalists

Meet this year’s semi-finalists. Each contestant has a new innovative automotive aftermarket product that they are looking to launch or gain more traction in the marketplace. An online voting competition will kick off July 30 on the YEN Facebook page to determine the 10 finalists who will take the stage at the live event at the 2018 SEMA Show to pitch their products to a panel of judges. In the end, one of these 15 semi-finalists will be named the winner and be awarded the grand prize package.

Learn a little bit about each product and be sure to participate in the voting competition to support your favorite product.

Ryan Amesbury, Amped Technologies
Product: LevelUp
The LevelUp allows Electric Vehicle owners to install a fast (Level 2) charger in their garage without having to pay an electrician $1,000 to install a 240 volt outlet. This (Level 2) charger, increases the charging speed from 4 miles to 25 miles of range per hour of charge.

Matt Beenen, 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!

Mike Burns, ValvoMax
Product: ValvoMax Oil Drain Valve
Changing engine oil is a messy, frustrating task! Introducing the ValvoMax Oil Drain Valve. With our patented product, oil can now be changed with the turn of a wrist. The valve replaces the existing drain bolt. No more searching for tools or mopping up spills.

Ovidiu Cristea, Inventioneers
Product: is a commercial licensing marketplace that bridges the gap between product development and manufacturing at any scale. At its heart, it is designed to protect and retain rights of ownership for intellectual property, while maximizing opportunities to monetize products that may be otherwise not brought to market.

Todd Earsley, My Shop Assist
Product: My Shop Assist
My Shop Assist is a web-based project management system designed specifically for aftermarket shops. You can schedule jobs, delegate tasks, log hours, track parts orders, store pictures, create invoices, determine employee efficiency, and communicate progress to the customers. It even integrates with QuickBooks to track your accounting.

Stephen Hale, Stohd Outdoor
Product: Exoskeleton Utility Trail Door
The Stohd Exoskeleton is a patented trail door system for Jeep Wranglers. The doors have a unique protruding design to which specially 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!

Ben Horst, Eddy Motorworks
Product: Premium Electric Conversions
There's something special about classic cars. They have character, While modern vehicle technology is advancing incredibly, we've lost the art and passion we once instilled into our cars. At Eddy Motorworks, we take classic cars and revive them with high-performance, OEM-quality, 100-percent electric powertrains. We call it technology and soul.

Jonathan Hurley, ToolBox Widget, LLC
Product: ToolBox Widget
ToolBox Widget, the first 100% modular tool organizing system for your toolbox. Our 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, 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.

Jon Mendoza, NGR Performance
Product: NGR Turbo Filter
NGR Turbo Filter is a one-piece design filter for your turbo. Eliminates need for cone filters and provides space to your engine bay. Sleek and compact the NGR Turbo Filters are pressure tested to 200psi. Increase power and turbo response with NGR Turbo Filters.

Christopher Owens, Creative Fabrication and Coatings
Product: Last Drop Wrench
The Last Drop Wrench allows you 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. Any other oil filter tool just leaves you burnt and cleaning up an unnecessary mess.

Juan Perez, ErgoTool
Product: ErgoTool
Ergotool are ergonomically designed handles and line of tools designed for people with disabilities who lack dexterity. Ergotool helps arthritic deformities, injured veterans, or people who have lost limbs. Designed to make the task of a simple grasp easier for the user, our design can fit any prosthetic limb.

Kansas Sartin, PAKMULE, LLC
Product: Automotive Cargo Products
PAKMULE is a fully TIG welded beast of a cargo carrier. 100% aluminum, PAKMULE will never rust, weighs a mere 42lbs and yet is burly enough to handle 500lbs of cargo! Designed to easily secure and access all your gear, while our proprietary locking, anti-wobble connection keeps everything secure.

George Schafer, 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 – installs permanently yet exposed, without effort, only when needed. The ‘Quick Clip’ system allows user to click-in accessories, such as kayak mounts, in less than one second. Fits various vehicle rooftops.

Ed Uehling, King Tailgates
Product: KT1
The KT1 is an upgraded aftermarket replacement option for OEM tailgates. Our 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.

Judging Criteria

All Launch Pad finalists will compete in the live event at the 2018 SEMA Show where they will present a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges on their product/service. The contestants will be scored based on their performance in the following categories: People, Product, and Process.