Concrete Canvas Ltd

Concrete Canvas Ltd manufacture a ground breaking material technology called Concrete Canvas that allows concrete to be used in a completely new way. It was originally developed for the award winning Concrete Canvas Shelters (CCS), a building in a bag that requires only water and air for construction. CCS is a flexible concrete impregnated fabric that hardens on hydration to form a thin, durable water proof and fire-resistant concrete layer. Essentially, it’s concrete on a roll.  A CCS25 variant can be deployed by 2 people without any training in under an hour and is ready to use in only 24 hours. We employ around 30 people, mainly from the south Wales area, but with a few remote positions also. 

What I did

The founders William Crawford and Peter Brewin invented the technology while studying a Masters at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College. They raised the initial funding to develop the technology from a combination of prize money from design and business plan competitions, including the Saatch & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas, equity investors and government grant funding. Concrete Canvas has now been used in projects in over 40 countries worldwide. For specific projects, please see our media and literature section.
 
What I would do differently
 
We would raise more funds at the start and go faster in the early phase, however this is a chicken and egg question as this would probably only be possible now that we have an established a track record as entrepreneurs.
 
My proudest moment in business
 
The response from everyone in the company when one of us was diagnosed with late stage terminal cancer and subsequently passed away.
 
 
Top Tips
 
  • be clear about your personal reasons for starting the business, it is an adventure and you must enjoy it to succeed. If your motivation is financial it will be a difficult and joyless trudge
  • choose the right partners. Starting a business on your own is very difficult, but a large team of founders also rarely works. Everyone must be fully committed from the start and able to contribute usefully. You cannot carry any dead weight. A start up technology business will usually either fail or be very successful, there is rarely a middle ground
  • write a clear, concise and well-researched business plan, update it when the plan changes and do not be afraid to change it
  • competitions provide an excellent opportunity to test your business plan, and generate seed funding and publicity, however you need to have your IP protection in place in advance and once you start you need to move quickly
  • recruiting the right high quality people takes time and is expensive but the quality of a business is dependent on the people in it. You will also need to let people go who are not right, this is dangerous, difficult and painful

Find out more about Concrete Canvas Ltd.