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Congratulations to Ian Lehn '09, whose entrepreneurial dream came true in November when he won the overall competition at the 2014 SEMA Launch Pad, a Shark Tank style contest aimed to help small startup companies launch their products. With the help of votes from his Kappa Sigma brothers, Ian soared ahead of hundreds of nationwide applicants for his product, BOOSTane, a racing-fuel octane additive to land in the Top 10, and ultimately the Top 5. After presenting to a panel of judges at the SEMA Launch Pad show, he was chosen as the winner.

 

Ian writes:

but I wanted to follow up about the competition as myself and my company actually ended up winning the whole thing out in Vegas, and I can honestly say that I would have had the chance to compete for the 200K in marketing up on stage if it wasn't for Alpha Tau and its Alum/Undergrads voting for me.  Here is a brief story of how it all went down.  I have also included a few photos.

BOOSTane started while I was still in undergrad at GT. My father was in offshore powerboat racing and for the longest time he had difficulty acquiring and transporting race fuel to events, whether it was due to availability or affordability, it always was a problem.  So myself, along with some partners, I was able to develop BOOSTane as a reliable and efficient octane increasing additive, by developing a proprietary carrier.  

From there we have been in the offshore and performance marine industry since my graduation in 2009, with success, and building a reputation.  Then in January of 2014, we entered the performance automotive aftermarket.  Even then I have had countless help along the way from my brothers.  From business suggestions, to actual physical labor at races, photography in the pits, testing, and development.  Folks like Craig Jones, Dan Kuehme, and others have been there all along the way.

So we come into LaunchPad presented by SEMA (Specialty Equipment Marketing Association).  This contest is focused around young entrepreneurs and blossoming companies that are making a positive impact into the future of the automotive aftermarket.  The award being over 200K in marketing services being provided to the winning company.

Starting with a nationwide list of applicants, numbering in the hundreds, a video was ( https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6M4otee6mZyc192b0FWOFhPWTg&authuser=0 ) Which also would not have been possible without help from my brothers storyboarding and filming.  From there they choose the top 10 companies that will then be voted on to narrow down to the top 5 and to compete in Vegas in front of the world at the SEMA Show.  This is where AT of Kappa Sigma blew everyone out of the water.  The second that I sent an email out to our alumni list I went from 8th place to 1st, which is where I stood for a majority of the competition due to the shear number of votes I got from Alpha Tau and their friends.  

As the competition drew to a close I started to notice that there were some companies surging up the ranks and 1 by 1 they were slowly over taking BOOSTane.  After some research I found that they, being much larger companies than myself, were offering multiple iPad minis as giveaways to whoever would vote for them.  Realizing that we did not have resources to "BUY" our way into the top 5, I knew that I had to once again call on Alpha Tau to give one more big push.  Waiting till the last 2 days I sent out the email, and within 12 hours I found myself clawing my way back into the top 5, ending in the 5th spot.  There it was I called upon my brothers twice, and twice they pulled through for me.  

But my work was not over yet.  All of this would be in vane if I did not bring home the trophy.  So calling on Craig Jones for speech guidance, I carefully crafted a 5 minute business pitch to give to a panel of SharkTank style judges. describing our global reach and opening BOOSTane Asia in Shanghai, I felt that I had made a strong case. In the end, after much deliberation, the announced "Ian Lehn of BOOSTane" and my world has changed ever since.

I was told when I was being given my bid in 2004 that becoming a Kappa Sigma meant that I would always have a group of friends that would be there for me.  And that whatever I put into Alpha Tau I would get back 10x over.  Well, I am standing here now, proof that all of that is true, and I hope that retelling this story in the Alpha Taulker gives small glimmer of the gratitude that I owe to all of my friends and brothers for helping propel my company to where it is now.

Since the competition, just from the publicity we have secured distribution in China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and after March Dubai.

Thank you, Brothers.

AEKDB

Click here to view more photos.