Jessica Matthews, born in New York is the CEO of uncharted Power. An energy company that aims to make energy accessible to all.
Her first commercial invention was a soccer ball which along 3 other classmates invented for an engineering class which created enough energy to power a small attachable LED light for 3 hours after 3 minutes of play.
She was then moved to create SOCCKET, a soccer ball that transforms the kinetic energy it receives to renewable and portable energy source after attending an aunt’s wedding in Nigeria, of which she also holds citizenship there which was disrupted by a power outage, and seeing how people simply accept such things as a fact of life. Matthews went on to start Uncharted Play to expand her product line into energy-producing jump ropes and skateboards.
The company has now created a system that can turn the ground beneath our feet into infrastructure for power distribution and monitoring. The system can be installed beneath sidewalks. A system that provides the adequate and unfalling infrastructure for energy transportation, as conventional systems often do fail.
NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr has been an early supported of Uncharted Power and now has recently been announced as a board member. First investing in the company during its series A funding round in 2016 joined its board of directors late last year, and a formal announcement was made in March. (According to the company, the $7 million raised in 2016 was the largest Series A, at the time, for a black female founder. To date, the company has raised $12.5 million.)
For now, uncharted power is concentrating the piloting, testing, and certification of its infrastructure in the US, where regulations are some of the strongest says, Matthews. (The system is AASHTO HS-20 rated.) The company has a testing and demonstration facility in upstate New York and headquartered in Harlem, and is currently concentration on a pilot site in the Tri-State area where the focus for the next two years will not only be to demonstrate the technology as it functions for a full, smart, sustainable city but how to partner with municipal governments and arrange financing. The model will then be expanded to other cities in the U.S., Africa, and potentially Latin America.
“Women often feel that everything that makes them unique, and the dynamic perspective they bring to the table, will also ostracize them in their chosen industry, and so it has no place in their work environment. As difficult as it is, that mindset must be overcome. [Women’s perspectives] are imperative for equitable design. Imagine how much easier life would be if women were involved in designing public spaces and the built environment – from prioritizing well-lit streets to considering how to better navigate public transportation with baby strollers – the nuances of various experiences can make a huge difference in the aggregate design. In the energy space, you’re not just talking about the pure functionality of the utility but the long-term use and efficacy of it.” says Matthews
“No matter what happens over the next few weeks and months, the world is not going to be the same. We’re excited to be part of the post COVID-19 world where people can feel engaged and feel like they have agency to build the world they want. There’s a lot technology can do to make our lives better and safer. We can be so much more.”