Mines entrepreneurs develop veteran-friendly startup focused on durable pop-up shelters

GOLDEN, Colo., April 21, 2015 – Five graduate students in the Colorado School of Mines Engineering and Technology Management master’s program have launched a start-up company to improve and expand upon a proprietary material developed by a U.K partner, Concrete Canvas. The team will improve the base technology for broader application and establish a Colorado manufacturing unit.

During a Division of Economics and Business course focused on technology entrepreneurship, students were tasked with seeking an existing technology that needed a shot in the arm. Matthew Mattivi, an active-duty U.S. Naval officer who had served with the Seabees (the Naval Construction Force) recognized the application potential in concrete canvas. The technology hardens into a strong, waterproof and fire resistant material when hydrated and can be used to quickly construct durable shelters. Mattivi saw that the technology could benefit from improvements and expanded usage, thus a startup business was born.

Mattivi assumed the role of chief executive officer of Amplified Concrete Solutions (ACS) and assembled a team with the help of fellow graduate student and now president of the company, Samuel Slaven. They partnered with three other students in the Mines program: Operations Officer Hudson Grigg, who completed four years on active duty as a Marine Corps Officer; and two non-veteran founders, Chief Marketing Officer Michael Claugus and Research and Development Director/Chief Financial Officer Suman Sudhir.

“The group saw the real-world value and we were amazed it was not in use,” Mattivi said. They envision the U.S. military, organizations like FEMA, or industries such as oil and gas, could use the technology to deploy strong, on-demand shelters and housing.

The structure, what Claugus referred to as a “building in a bag, community in a box,” starts out folded in a bag and can be blown up and constructed within four hours. The concrete impregnated material is airtight and sterile and the units are modular to allow for expansion. The team plans to field test smaller-scale versions of the units in Colorado to explore possible uses for the oil and gas and mining industries.

In addition to increasing commercial and humanitarian application of their product, ACS has a business plan focused on recruiting and employing veterans.

“We gained vast experience working with and leading veterans while on active duty and that experience showed us what veterans have to offer. Our internal focus is to build a company that returns value to the employees that work at Amplified Concrete Solutions – veterans, families and all employees,” Mattivi said.

He added that another opportunity their company provides is a partnership with Mines and flexible work schedules to allow employees to attend classes and earn a STEM degree while developing skills on the job.

“We have a significant philanthropic focus to give back to veterans and their families for all that they have sacrificed to serve our great nation,” Claugus said.

Manufacturing of the first U.S.-produced units is slated to begin in Commerce City on June 1.


Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu
Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | kmorton@mines.edu

About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public research university focused on science and engineering, where students and faculty together address the great challenges society faces today - particularly those related to the Earth, energy and the environment.