Ed Uehling and Ben Bauer want to show a pick-up truck tailgate can do more than just hold in cargo.
Valparaiso-based startup King Tailgates is among 15 semi-finalists in the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Launch Pad competition, which showcases developers with innovative automotive aftermarket products. SEMA is an organization dedicated to the automotive aftermarket and customization industry.
This year’s SEMA competition semi-finalists were chosen from a field of more than 120 entries. A public round of voting is now open where people can view King Tailgate’s video as well as the other semi-finalists.
The top 10 videos, which will be determined by votes received, will move onto the finalist round at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas on Oct. 29. The winner receives a $10,000 prize and an opportunity to meet and network with other aftermarket industry leaders.
Uehling and Bauer are competition veterans. They finished second in the recent Purdue University Northwest Big Sell competition and made the finals in the 2017 SEMA Launch Pad contest.
King Tailgates, cofounded by Uehling and Bauer in 2013, has patented its unique tailgate designs, which can be customized with a variety features for older and newer model pick-ups. Among the customizable features includes enclosed seating, removable Bluetooth speakers, USB ports, cup holders and storage options.