Region Startup Advances in National Competition

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Ed Uehling (left) and Ben Bauer founded the company. Ed Uehling (left) and Ben Bauer founded the company.
VALPARAISO -

Valparaiso-based King Tailgates has advanced in a national startup competition in Las Vegas. The company, which makes tailgates with features including USB outlets and Bluetooth speakers, is one of 15 semi-finalists in the Specialty Equipment Market Association Launch Pad competition.

King Tailgates was chosen from a field of over 115 companies to compete in Las Vegas. Co-founder Ed Uehling says the competition will revolve around a three-minute pitch video, which the company will create in Las Vegas.

If the company advances to the finals, it will compete at the Launch Pad Live event in October at the SEMA show in Vegas. The winning company receives $10,000 and a free booth at the 2018 SEMA show.

Uehling founded the company with friend Ben Bauer. He says the idea came after Bauer had back surgery and was looking for ways to stay comfortable.They say the competition is an opportunity to spotlight the product as the company looks for strategic and manufacturing partners.

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