A new partnership with Sporting KC gives a Kansas City-founded startup naming rights to the new WISE Power Shield Club at Children’s Mercy Park, as well as a new lease on its emerging entertainment concept previously set to debut at the Hy-Vee Arena.
What is WISE Power?
WISE Power technology works by allowing homeowners, building owners, facility managers, and anyone who manages a building’s power supply to store energy from the grid or renewables to use later as needed.
“WISE Power has designed technology products and services that are incredibly innovative and stylish,” said Jon Moses, Sporting KC vice president of corporate partnerships. “We’re integrating those same essential elements in the Wise Power Shield Club with an exciting new look and feel this year for guests to enjoy.”
Founded in Kansas City by serial entrepreneur Kevin Williams, the company’s intelligent energy systems store electricity to power homes and businesses, as well as a new “WISE Power Pack” storage system to power electric vehicles. The new tech lounge is expected to showcase Wise Power’s products, demonstrate its capabilities and train its distributor community, Williams said.
The startup relocated its leadership team to Las Vegas in late 2019, though it remained committed to the Kansas City showroom concept, he said.
Click here to learn more about WISE Power.
Set for a March 7 kickoff alongside Sporting KC’s home opener, the lounge offers a climate-controlled space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with a midfield view of the pitch. Amenities include a SportingStyle retail location, such local food and drink options as Port Fonda, American Royal Barbecue and J. Rieger & Co., and an outdoor patio for pre-match festivities.
With a phased rollout already in motion, WISE Power plans to continue customizing the space throughout the season with completion slated for later this summer.
An evolving concept in motion
Previously envisioned as the WISE Power Lounge at Hy-Vee Arena, the sports-meets-tech leisure space arrives more than a year after the planned opening of a similar concept at the former Kemper Arena.
Efforts to open a public, 9,000-square-foot lounge in the retrofitted recreation complex in the West Bottoms hit a bottleneck, Williams said, leaving WISE Power unable to move forward.
“We were not able to finalize the arrangement due to some important details; like parking. There was a real possibility that customers would have to pay to park just to enter the business,” he said. “We wish the Hy-Vee Arena well, but we came to realize it was not a good fit for the WISE Power Lounge.”
Click here to read more about the previously planned space at Hy-Vee Arena.
Ultimately, the WISE Power Lounge concept evolved into what the team is now calling Motions Tap Room, Williams said.
“We have an international franchise agreement to expand Motions beginning with stores in the Las Vegas market,” he said.
Williams’ daughter, Brittany, who was instrumental in planning the WISE Power Lounge at Hy-Vee Arena, now leads the Motions business division.
What happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas
WISE Power’s recent relocation to Las Vegas doesn’t represent a permanent geographic pivot, Williams said. Instead, the move is an attempt to capitalize on available resources and incentives to help the startup reach its most immediate and long-term goals, he said.
“We found the need to move our residence to the Las Vegas market and establish an Opportunity Zone location to gain access to capital,” Williams said. “We tried for a couple of years to attract funds from the local VC community with no success. We continued to grow using some crowdfunding capital, but mostly self-funding.”
The energy storage startup is maintaining its Kansas City presence through existing office space on College Boulevard in Overland Park, he said, part of a plan to eventually return to the metro in a big way.
“We have a go-to-market strategy that will use a KC area Opportunity Zone location as our headquarters and a national distribution center,” he said. “The strategy requires a $25 million expansion plan and we have secured 90 percent of the equity capital.”
WISE Power is still seeking $1.5 million to $2.5 million in sidecar funding, Williams said.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.