Concrete Aggregate Startup Secures Support from Drexel Innovation Fund

Drexel University has selected SusMax, a startup that produces lightweight aggregate construction material, as one of the first startups to receive support from its Innovation Fund. SusMax will receive a $150,000 investment from the Fund.

Co-founded by CEO Mo Balapour, a Drexel engineering alumnus, and associate professor Amir Farnam, PhD, SusMax patented a process to recycle waste coal ash into aggregate used in lightweight concrete. In addition to the Innovation Fund investment, SusMax participated in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program and the Heritage Group Accelerator.

Amir Farnam at lab
Amir Farnam, PhD, and Mo Balapour, PhD
“Our solution provides value to the construction industry by improving the supply chain of lightweight aggregate, while also diverting these materials from landfills,” said Balapour. “We have shown we can increase concrete’s lifetime by 20% and reduce emissions from manufacturing and transporting aggregate by 50%.”

The Drexel Innovation Fund was launched to invest in early-stage startups founded by Drexel students, alumni and faculty. SusMax was selected through a process involving Drexel students and the Innovation Fund’s Investment Advisory Committee. By participating, students gained valuable experience in early-stage investing.