Doing Something Concrete on Climate

Hello everybody settle down settle down You'll want to want to stay We've got a fantastic conversation now We're all uh obviously surrounded by This stuff And you know what I'm talking about Right concrete we're addicted to it Excuse me However it's very uh climate unfriendly But so Now we're going to have a Rick Fox CEO Of patava joined by Tim deschanz welcome Them All right Hey All right thanks for joining everyone Now Rick you've got how are you doing I'm good You got a lot of titles Three-time NBA champion actor producer And of course we can't forget special Guest judge on RuPaul's Drag Race yeah Early years yeah you've added another Though founder of partana Now a lot of athletes of your caliber When they retire they go do something Like buy a car dealership but you didn't You started a concrete company why is That Uh good morning thank you Tim thank you TechCrunch uh why concrete well uh in Full disclosure I'm not a material Scientist So what's a three-time NBA champion

Former TV movie actor and producer doing In the material space right uh fighting Climate change around concrete and its Impact on our world well there's nothing Like survival In life to Push you forward into action and in my Case in 2019 in the Bahamas we had a Hurricane come through hurricane Dorian They called it a once in a hundred year Storm It destroyed two of our Islands And at that point in time I watched 30 000 citizens be displaced and I got on The ground myself in an attempt to add Value to the recovery Mission and I for The first time witnessed a hurricane in My life that when I was a kid used to be Fun because it brought our family Together I saw a storm that I'd never Seen and as you live in Hurricane Alley In the Caribbean region you realize if You watch the news those aren't once in A hundred year storm anymore every Hurricane season were impacted heavily By the impact of climate change and the Storms that we are faced with so it was In that moment I decided to for myself To try and be a part of the solution and So I went on this quest to figure out Well if we are not only being impacted By these storms but it's taking us into Debt year after year how do we how do we Dig ourselves out of 11 billion dollars

Of debt if there's more storms coming And it was at that point I realized that We needed to build better strong anchor Partner with people the likes of this Guy over here Shaquille O'Neal the size Of the mission is that great But the level excuse me the level of Partnership and Man [Applause] No man I'll see you in a second all Right No that's uh That's the real you know that's one of The other reasons I wanted to come uh Here at TechCrunch too was to catch up With family and friends but look as a Planet we are collectively A family right trying to survive here on This planet so in my case my country the Survival of our country we're going to Be underwater at some point if we keep Going at the rate we're going and so I Went on a search to figure out new ways To build sustainably so that we don't Always have to rebuild so I started to Ask the question What materials are we using how do we Build stronger how do we build more Sustainably and it was at that point Shout out to my co-founder Sam Marshall Who's not here uh it was his his quest As an architect by trade looking to just Disrupt and change the way we build in

The world through his uh Mission and his Desire to watch us stop burning rocks For 200 years that he started to ask the Question is there a material out there That can change the way we we build in The world yeah and can you tell us at a High level how exactly your concrete Works yeah so um we are a climate Technology companies we take Big Industry waste sort of likes of brine Flag from the steel industry and we Upscale it into environmentally Sustainable products so building Materials like CMU blocks pavers we Build homes we can pour in place all of This is is at its Essence taking if you Know concrete the binder and concrete is Cement You take cement out and you plug our Partana in all things remain the same we Get a concrete that avoids emissions and Also removes emissions to the process of Curing so through the magic of chemistry We have a really really smart material Scientists that have come up with this Patent they are on the boards of the Astms they are they come from the Concrete Innovation space and they Innovated this patented formula to get To a point where we can create concrete That's better for the way we build That's great So I wanted to ask a question that might Be a little sensitive you took money

From Saudi Arabia Um were you reluctant given their record On climate change as one of the largest Oil producers and their record on human Rights so we haven't taken money from Saudi Arabia okay so right now we are at The foreground of climate change where We're on the front ground the Forefront Which is in the Bahamas and then we Through cop27 we had the opportunity to Meet John Pagano the CEO of the Red Sea Global and then we learned about the Sal Nation industry in the Middle East and So in the Middle East we know that Desalination is a huge part of their Their survival water being more Important than than actual oil and then We learned about the development which Is 80 of that going on in the world is Happening in that region and so for us It was about being in the spaces that Needed us the most getting this material Out into the developments and the Projects that needed to change the way They were using concrete what we've Discovered is not only are they leading In this uh this intent uh through their Projects they're demanding action as Opposed to just talking so when I went To cop 27 for the first time what I Discovered was there was a lot of talk About Decarbonization and changing by the time 2070 2080. I'm looking at my own country

Thinking to myself we don't have time we Have to innovate now we have to go with The places and the people and the Conversations that are making the Decisions to use these building Materials today not 30 years from now Not 60 years from now so you know when When you're tackling This scale of a challenge which is to Change the way we build in the world for Good forever Then you go wherever it's needed and you Try to make a difference in the areas That are building as much as they're Building and so we're there being a a Positive impact on their and their Developments and you said not Saudi Arabia but Red Sea Global is funded by Their public investment fund right okay And you've traveled there about six Seven eight times this year yeah how was That did you get to meet NBS I have not Met MBS yet okay Um what I have met is giga projects from The Red Sea Global and John Pagano we Are working with Jerry and zarello at The Daria gate uh which is their their Giga project in at Daria we're having Conversations with Neo uh Roshan their Housing Development so the opportunity The appetite not only in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but also in the UAE in Qatar everyone in that region is looking At how they can impact the world in a

More positive light so we're excited About continuing to partner with any Project wherever they are in the world Yeah some have to have a positive impact So what would you tell Founders who Might be contemplating taking money or Partnering with Um with investors Partners who they Might feel at least somewhat morally Conflicted with so to me to me Personally like I've been in the NBA for Jesus I was in the NBA for 13 years I Was on TV sets and movies for another 20 Years 28 years actually The challenge of delivering a finished Piece of work or a championship pursuit Of a championship goal at the end of the Day you're going to have personal Beliefs and systems and the way you live Your personal life outside of of a task You may come together to accomplish and For me personally I I do the job that Needs to be done with the teammates I Have where the common goal and the Mission is greater than any of my own Personal opinions so to me the planet And this mission of climate attacking The way we build in the world D-linking development from construction And pollution That's a mission that's greater than any Of our personal uh you know thoughts and Beliefs so pulling it all together and Finding a way to all work together

Hopefully that impacts the way you think In the way you think may impact the way I think and so I don't run away from Challenges I've always signed up for the Greatest challenges that I could find in The world and this is one of them So you mentioned previously when we were Talking that partana is for you more Than just concrete that is about climate Justice what does that mean to you So you know for me again I come from a Small island right so small island Developing Nation where the global North Is having a huge impact on the global South with its development and that's Not to point fingers it's just the fact Of what we deal with right uh Development's not going anywhere anytime Soon right we're not going to stop Developing right so for me when you're a Small Island like ours in the Bahamas and we Don't develop and we yet receive the Impact on a yearly basis the justice of That is to not only just as a leader Prime Minister of the Bahamas not only As a leaders Point pointed out to the Developing world to be accountable for What you're doing to make greater Choices and to innovate and to make Choices around Innovation he led in that Regard so when I could have been Anywhere in the world as a company to Start this this company in this industry

Of Carbonic building materials he said Bring that here why because we're on the Front line we need it now Others May say We have 30 years before we make the Change right he decided to do that right Now so from a Justice standpoint to me Um leadership is needed In general right and some of us will Take up the mantle of leadership and Others will wait and follow I I don't Necessarily judge in that regard I just Say please whoever Believes they can do something about This and can contribute like we need That teamwork we need that that that That that Mission to grow it was more and more People are part of it yeah now there's Something special too about your houses And and this might not be set in stone Yet but you were mentioning about Um kind of an Innovative way that the Carbon credits might work yeah so if you Know much about the carbon credit Industry it's a it's a it's an evolving Industry right now it can be volatile at Times it's swung highs and lows the Pricing of it can be all over the place But at the end of the day the beauty of What uh partana does is not only it gets To a concrete it gets to building Materials we build homes we build Structures and dwellings out of the Building of those materials structures

Uh we avoid emissions so like I Mentioned before we note we use zero Portland cement We use zero with very minimal energy to Get to our finished concrete so we don't Use what carbon sequestration does we Consider them the less bad guys that we Celebrate the fact that they're trying To also make a difference we just simply Do good we use the magic of chemistry we Take our materials we use salt water so We're also not impacting the two percent Of water used to make concrete in the World we generate that and out of the Magic of that carbonization we remove CO2 from the atmosphere and we come up With a finished embedded CO2 in a Concrete that's changed forever so when You think about sequestration sometimes You pump it in the ground it can leak Out we don't do any of that our CO2 is Embedded and removed for good so so as We move forward there to me The opportunity is to take these carbon Credits that are then generated we have A home a thousand two hundred and twenty Eight square foot home it's built with Regular cement concrete it generates 70 Tons of negativity up into the Atmosphere you build a partano home with Our our binder and concrete it's 184 Carbon credits that's 54 avoided And 126 removed so you take those carbon Credits now which we believe are some of

The highest ESG rated carbon credits out There and you now can use them for good That's redistribution of wealth that's Using it as a down payment in the Bahamas we're using it for down payments On citizens that can't afford to get Into a home and there's other ways we Can use them with our Partnerships with Governments to create infrastructure to Build more homes and so we're using our Carbon credits and we're sharing them With our partners to do actually good so You're talking about potentially someone Who lives in a home built with Cortana Concrete benefiting from the continued Sequestration that happens over the life Of that home Yeah and that's exciting to me because One of the greatest challenges we have At home in the Bahamas is that Unfortunately people would love to be in A home but quite frankly they can't Afford to pull together thirty thousand Dollars as a down payment well if you're Generating 182 carbon credits in the Case we've sold our carbon credits in an Avoidance price of 150 which if you know That's pretty substantial and that's European market rates we've showed our We've sold our our retired removal Credits for 365 dollars and so now we Blend that carbon credit to get to a 300 Price because over the course of the Removal of our carbon credit the removal

Credit happens over time as we absorb More and more CO2 in the life of that House but we can take that we can Partner with those that might want to Warehouse credits Finance us at the Front end so that we can use those Credits to support people in down Payments we'll eventually get to a place Where we create our own financing Mechanisms for homeowners and we'll take It globally And upfront cost how do you compare with Regular concrete so let's go down the Middle so and Innovation as you know Value innovation is more exciting than Innovation by itself right right Um and so we are currently today out in The world operational delivering the Customers we're we we are we are Available I'll say that right whereas We're not in the Innovation stages of Trying to figure out how to get this Into the world we're doing that Um uh cement if you go down the middle And we say cement is 225 dollars a ton Somewhere in the world right it Fluctuates with commodities it can move Around right I've seen it as high as 300 Seen as low as 130 right If we're doing a small base project a One-off we're making 11 000 pavers Somewhere in the world uh our pricing Will be probably 25 percent higher than A cement ton when at scale in a

Manufacturing capacity with machines and With tolling our machine our equipment Through our material through our Machines we drop below cement so now all Of a sudden we become not only that Innovation but value innovation on a Level that the more we scale the better The pricing gets yeah and are you Dependent on the availability of Saltwater brine or is that something That you can be flexible about yeah Where are you watching it so where are You looking at getting factories built So we've had uh anywhere first we always Say anywhere is a desalination plant we Want to be next door and so there's no Shortage of those there's some 17 000 of Them in the world and they're only Scaling over the next three years so That gives us an advantage uh we want to Be in regions and countries that have That problem uh because they're all they Already have a water problem to begin With so if we're not going to use any of The fresh water to make our stuff we'll Take that Brine and and turn it into a Feedstock if you know anything about the Desalination industry 33 percent of Their expense is about discarding brine Where do they send that blind they send It into the ocean into the into the sea Bed which destroys our sea life right so You have concrete on one end cement Concrete that's creating the heat which

Is impacting the acidic nature of our Oceans and then you've got this Foundation plant is pumping brine into The ocean bed that's destroying that We're saying give us the brine we'll Turn it into environmentally friendly Products we're telling the steel Industry give us your slag we'll take That which is now in landfills some Cases they'll pay you to take it right We're using that and so with the brine Of it all we build plants anywhere where We're in a 100 mile radius over of the Salvation plant uh because Logistics and Transportation obviously impact Everything and that impacts your ability To say you're carbon negative but that's The exciting nature of what we can do For Brian we can take brine which is a Negative thing and turn it into a Positive yeah I want to get back to basketball a Little bit uh you spend 13 seasons in The NBA yeah uh you were in the playoffs Four times before getting to the Championships is that frustrating it was Very um frustrating because each year You start uh in your mind you're going To win a championship especially when You play for the Celtics and you play For the Lakers so I had I was drafted by I I was I was blessed because in college I had Dean Smith who was I believe one Of the greatest coaches and I had

Michael Jordan as a mentor so I'd spend The Summers with Michael in Chicago and So I to me Excellence was something we Pursued every year and then I got Drafted by red R back so I ended up with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale and Robert Parish as my teammates and they had won Championships and so a championship Pursuit was never not the thing you Focused on and then the first nine years Of my career we lost every year so it Helped it helped getting to La uh and Having Jerry West you know call and Invite me to come to play with the Lakers and Dr Buss and and then it also Helps with that big guy walked in the Room Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant You know I was I was the captain with Those two guys we won we ended up Winning three championships under Phil Jackson so those years of my tail end of My career were far more enjoyable than The first nine I can imagine uh because The first nine I did a lot of crying at The end uh um and that's always a good Sign if you if you leave it out there on The floor it's gonna kill It's Gonna Hurt yeah um but I did a lot of laughing And a lot of joy and I owed a lot to That man Shaquille and Kobe Bryant rest In peace Kobe Um because I'm on the sustainability Stage and I have to tell you that my Career was sustained because of Shaq and

Kobe and Phil Jackson and he's on the Disruption stage because he disrupted a Lot of people's careers with his place So he's in the right place too but I'm Looking forward to seeing him and really As always when I see him I can't thank Him enough for the life I have and the Opportunity to be in places like this Not only because of the work we're doing With the team we're doing with doing it With so I'm grateful I've been on Championship teams my friend and my Entire life whether we won championships Or not I learned from the teams I was on I learned the lessons through winning That has allowed me to build the team we Have today that is at Parton so I'm Really grateful for their sacrifice Their commitment they go where we go They they look in the face of some of The questions you asked which are which Are real questions right to think about Um uh but at the end of the day their Commitment is to changing the way we Build in the world for the betterment of This planet and we have to go places and Leave our families and and uh fight this Fight uh that's a pretty insurmountable You know journey to to to tackle yeah Along those lines you know it's no Secret with partana that you want to Give countries like the Bahamas a Fighting Chance do you think we're too Late

So I'll tell you a story about The 2000 Western Conference Finals in The game seven I'm sort of some Warrior Fans here and maybe some Sacramento King Fans that aren't going to like the story Maybe some Portland Trailblazer fans Um we were down by 15 points With with about I think it was about Eight minutes to go in the game and it Was a game seven and and it looked like We were done And and sure enough we took one Possession at a time we made choices That were unselfish we made play for the Next guy we we made the The Comeback Which appeared at that time the most Insurmountable thing that we could Possibly do and we we just took it one Bit at a time we ate the elephant one Bit at a time and we didn't even need The full eight minutes there's a play if You go to YouTube You'll see Shaq you'll See Kobe crossing over Scotty Pittman Getting into the paint and lobbing the Ball to Shaquille O'Neal for a dunk and That moment that one play put us not Only back in the lead but it sent us on A course of winning three championships For the next three years and I don't Know where I would be in life at that Moment not happen I don't know where I'd Be had that eight minutes of of belief That it was never too late that we still Could come back and I and I say that I

Say that to everyone that asked me that Question that's in this fight right is It too late is climate change just too Far gone is the 1.5 C is it are we never Getting back from that and I always just Keep my head down I keep doing that one Thing that I know we can do as a company To just do our part and and maybe it Inspires another company like I said Right now currently we're the only Company doing what we do which is Avoiding and removing CO2 through Building materials effectively other People are trying to get there to I say Come on we don't need to be the only one I'd rather build a team of innovation Out there in the world that's doing more Good and if we're one example of what's Possible hopefully we get a a more People coming along yeah would you say On your journey as a Founder was there Kind of that critical moment similar to What you're describing in game seven Yeah yes yeah they seem to be You know at least once a month Um all right you gotta you gotta Remember we we the one thing that was Born out of covet for me personally in My life was not only being impacted by Um Hurricane Dorian that was right in September 1st 2019 right before covid But it it sat me down and I broke the Back on validation uh in my life and

Needing validation and then I also Looked at the relationship with my kids And I spent time with them answering Questions that they otherwise I might Not have answered until I was on my Deathbed and I built that relationship And then I met my co-founder and Sam Marshall and one of the things that Really struck me about him was he he was Asking questions that a lot of people That I had met weren't really asking and He was looking at it from a place of From coming at it from a different Direction and that was very disruptive And and he also had this this goal in This mission of changing the way we Built in the world and I was not a Construction guy right I'm not a Material science like I said but I did Play one on The Big Bang Theory so that Was Art imitating now it's already Imitating life without imitating art I Guess right so uh maybe maybe that Impacted me a little bit uh but for me When he invited me to be a part of this Journey uh the only thing I knew was I may not know anything about concrete Today and three years later I'm way Smarter for it but I knew it needed to Come to the world and in that moment for The year and a half that the world shut Down and I spent time with Sam every day Just learning about this and talking to The scientists and understanding you

Know if we were to try and get this into The world how would we enter like how Would we bring this and product to the World I realized that I was being called To build another team I was being called And asked by him to lead a championship Approach of getting this out into the World and I just I I call it being Drafted like I said I've been drafted by The Celtics I was drafted by the Lakers And now I've been drafted by Sam Marshall and so I've had The greatest ease getting up every Morning in my life even amidst some of Those challenges that we faced when we When people ask what are you doing in Concrete you're an athlete well you know Why do you have the solution to carbon Negative building materials like you Know all these things were where people Would say well why you why isn't it Bill Gates why is it in Milan why isn't these Other guys right but they're fighting The fight too right they're trying to Get in there and solve the problem too I Just say look you know it's all of us it Has to be all of us This solution isn't the only solutions That's going to help we need other Solutions too and so we just happen to Be one of them and so I stopped asking Why I just do what I can do I don't need The validation and approval of why I'm Doing it I just know that this formula

Has to get out there and I'm here to Push it and to share the message and to Build the team that's going to continue To hopefully convert countries and Developments into using this material And now after a short amount of time the Incoming is a lot for us so we have to Scale we have to grow but but it's a Good problem to have I wake up every day Feeling like I'm I'm chasing a a Championship life again that's great Another act yeah yeah another act so one More question what would you say is more Challenging winning three championships Or scaling a startup Oh man for those of you that are startup Entrepreneurs Um it's they're both uh they're It's all about your teammates Really it is all about your teammates And uh And I'm gonna get emotional talking About mine but um You you can't do that you can't do this Alone and and in business in general I Mean you're as a CEO or as a as a leader Of a company you're gonna you're gonna Have a lot I don't sleep I slept better As an athlete Um I don't sleep um I always feel like I'm running out of time I always feel Like there's never enough You know that I can do to grow where we Need to go and I can't and I can't do it

Fast enough and uh and so in that regard Um I do what I can and I stay in the Moment I try to stay present every day And I try to find the right teammates Uh and in this case I was drafted in the I didn't draft Shack or Kobe that was The genius of Jerry Jerry West I didn't You know I didn't coach it was Phil Jackson So in this case I'm now playing the role Of GM and and coach and and I'm also Leading the the tone and the messaging And and keeping the energy flowing with Our company and that's that's the Biggest challenge I've had in my life And so It's a lot but I find being an Entrepreneur especially in a space that I'm getting up to speed with on a Regular basis far more challenging far More intimidating But I no longer need Someone to tell me it's okay for me to Do it yeah I don't have time for that I Just gotta do it and when I look up my Kids like today and I I you know I tweet Out the business construction podcast And my daughter because my daughter's 23 Years old and we talk through social Media I think that's the best way for us To talk and go where she's at right and She says my dad is so cool It's all you need right Fine

Well thank you Rick Appreciate it Thank you guys How to go see chat [Music]

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