They trained. They served. They succeeded in their missions. Now, two American Navy SEALS have joined together after retiring from active duty to form a company that is innovating and inventing new products to not only help the US military and defense forces, but to help people in all walks of life who enjoy camping, hiking, hunting and other outdoor activities.
Sean Matson, a decorated Veteran / Navy SEAL who served for 13-years is one of the co-founder of this company, MATBOCK, and he spoke to us exclusively about switching from the military to now a successful business owner, and what types of products he is putting out there to help change and move America forward in all different ways.
1. Tell us about MATBOCK for those who may not know?
MATBOCK was created by combining my last name Matson and my business partner’s last name, which is Steinbock.
While flying on an airplane back in 2006 during advanced SEAL training (SQT), Zach and I were dumbfounded at how difficult and complex loading our class gear was on the C-130. The cargo netting system still used today, hasn’t been revolutionized since WWII and it still hasn’t been fixed. We initially thought that we would simply sell our idea to the current manufacturer, but they were not interested and every investor / mentor told us to build a full scale working product (at the time all we had was a 1/5 scale model).
We started the company to protect us while we were pitching other companies to help us, but as we quickly saw there was a need for a company focused on innovation within the Defense Space. We were surrounded by guys with great ideas, but they didn’t have an outlet to get them to market, so we created one for them. 10 years later this is still a key pillar to our success and the foundation to why our products are the most innovative in the industry.
2. Why are more innovative products needed now more than ever before?
Budgets have been getting tighter over the years as we scale back our forces from decades of wars. Creating these innovative products allows us to combine multiple products into one system which lowers costs to the government. Furthermore, we have learned so much over the past few decades at war that will be needed when the next conflict arises.
3. Why is it important to you to have your products made in America?
This is the best country in the world and why would we not want to support our own country. We are able to create jobs, give people a better life and ultimately great American made products.
4. As a retired Navy SEAL, what is your advice to other military members after they leave active duty?
Make sure you start planning early and have multiple options for potential future jobs. I learned this the hard way, but thankfully I kept connected to my network and was able to find a job within 6 weeks after finding out the previous job i was going to do was no longer available.
5. Why is it important to you as a CEO to hire Veterans?
For me it is important to hire veterans and their spouses. Spouses are often overlooked, but are highly qualified and have also had to endure a lot of the same things as their spouse. Primarily because these people know how to be part of something bigger than themselves and basic principles are instilled into them like honor, integrity and hard work.
6. What new products at MATBOCK are you most excited to launch in the near future?
We just launched a new company called Shop Decon, which will eventually have individual bleach packets, but for now we have individual hand sanitizer packets. www.shopdecon.com Also has a social mission to donate 1 packet for every packet we sell.
7. How has COVID-19 affected your business?
Trying to hire has been extremely difficult, but so has production. Both have been affected by COVID-19, but we continue to work through the challenges. As a business owner, you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable because there are always issues that will (can) affect your business and the potential growth.
8. On a personal note: Do you ever miss the military, or are you happy with where you are at today?
I miss the people! I miss the brotherhood of serving beside other people that have my same mentally, but I definitely don’t miss the BS that came with it. I am also REALLY happy where I am today and understand that I am able to affect a lot more from the outside than I would have ever been able to from within the military.