AY Young’s recent Battery Tour generated enough money to send two of 17° 73° Innovation Co’s Sunshine Boxes to Haiti — the first step in a partnership between the two ventures with common goals, the energetic founder said.
“[We] just realized that we were trying to kind of do the same thing as far as getting the world plugged in,” said Young. “[17° 73° founder Conner Hazelrigg’s] technology is further along than my concepts, so it just made sense to [partner] and to actively start getting the world access to electricity.”
The Battery Tours — Young’s bootstrapped music festival series powered completely by a combination of solar power and batteries — conducted donations into a $1,000 check, which Hazelrigg will use to pay for two Sunshine Boxes. The 10-outlet devices provide electricity to developing countries. The check presentation is set for noon Sunday at WeWork Corrigan Station, Young said.
“To be able to turn something that all of us love, which is music, into creating so much good is going to be a great opportunity and one that I think a lot of people in Kansas City can jump on board with and support,” said Hazelrigg.
“Being able to partner with AY to help us move our needle — and help move his needle — is just a great opportunity,” she added.
The two boxes are the beginning to so much more, said Hazelrigg.
“What AY is going to do with music here in the U.S. is going to [multiply] overseas,” she said. “Having a small festival or concert here is entertainment for us, but in the long run, [with the Sunshine Boxes,] it’s going to be creating jobs in developing countries for people who have been left out and overlooked.”
17° 73° also plans to partner with Big Bang, a KC-based IoT developer, to produce a digital transaction platform to enable safe and secure payments for the boxes, automatically turning them on in a couple seconds, said Hazelrigg.
“We’ve been doing testing here in the United States with it, but we’ve never had a chance to really go deploy it overseas in Haiti and really get that true environment test,” she said. “Their boxes are still moving around the country, but to really launch the payment platforms is going to be a huge uptick for us.”
Finding firms to match funds for the boxes is the next step for the partnership, Young said, noting the eventual goal is global Battery Tours.
“At this point, we’re really just looking for people who believe in sustainability, who believe in the environment, who believe in reducing the carbon footprint, who believe in helping people, and then enjoy music,” he said.
The musician has many opportunities in the pipeline, he added, including a TV show pilot that follows his music tours (currently being pitched to Amazon Prime), a coming album, and single featuring singer and rapper Ty Dolla $ign. The performer opened for singer Wyclef Jean this summer in the Crossroads.
“Those kinds of [partnership] ideas are something that I think could speed up this process, because it’s all about people seeing it and staying relevant,” said Young. “How else can you reach the people? I think everyone in the world as an outlet and I’m just waiting to get them plugged in. It’s really that simple.”