Former NBA Star Rick Fox’s Startup Partanna Raises $12M in Pre-Seed Funding To Combat Climate Change

Rick Fox has been known as an NBA star, an actor, and now, he can add startup founder.

The former Los Angeles Lakers player founded Partanna, a carbon-negative concrete company, with award-winning architect Sam Marshall in 2021, according to TechCrunch. By May 2023, Partanna raised $12 million in a pre-seed funding round. The round was led by Cherubic Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm.

“At Partanna, our mission is to delink development from pollution and build a sustainable future for all,” Partanna’s website describes. “We are pioneers of the world’s first zero-emission technology that naturally removes carbon from the atmosphere, allowing us to create innovative solutions that meet the needs of tomorrow without sacrificing the planet.”

Fox’s mission to play a role in combating climate change and creating a better world started during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then that he became cognizant of how it specifically affected The Bahamas — where Fox’s father is from and where he currently resides. The islands had just faced Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the outlet notes. 

“It got me to a point of thinking about a bigger crisis, which was one that we were facing at home in the Bahamas, which is the consistent impact of the climate and the storms that were happening on a yearly basis at a different level than what I grew up with,” Fox told TechCrunch+.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of amazing journeys and industries, from entertainment to movies and TV,” he added when speaking about his career. “I’ve been on sets with Oscar-winning actors and directors, and I’ve been on championship NBA teams. There’s been nothing more rewarding for me in my life than to be a part of this team where we’re leaving something behind.”

According to PitchBook data, Partanna’s valuation is $190 million. 

What’s next for the startup? Fox is set to share the details as a speaker at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 in September.