Nigerian-American entrepreneur and founder of Uncharted Play Jessica O. Matthews is strengthening the world’s energy structure with her ball-like invention that generates electricity.
She invented the uncharted play to tackle the problem of scarcity of electricity in Africa, particularly western Africa.
Jessica who at 22 years old graduated from Harvard launched Uncharted Play, the idea first came to her in Nigeria, when she was 17 years old and attending her aunt’s wedding. Power failed during the wedding and Jessica fell ill from breathing the exhaust fumes. Only 25 percent of Nigerians have access to regular electricity, and the nation averages 32 eight-hour power outages per month.
Jessica decided to work with the idea on a project in Harvard, she recalled her relatives in Nigeria resigned to a life spent breathing toxic fumes; and their energy and love for football, and she thought; “why can’t you take a soccer ball that is already in motion and harness the energy that is being generated during play as an off-grid power source?”
Jessica O. Matthews is a lot of things: a Harvard graduate, an American, a Nigerian, a black woman, an inventor, and a CEO who has dedicated her time to solving the electricity issues in developing countries.
Jessica was raised by Nigerian parents in the United States of America, she has always had a thing for science, she and her sister had endless extra-curricular activities including science-fair laurels and track-and-field accomplishments. She says:
“My parents always pushed us in everything in life. Their philosophy was, if you want to run as fast as you can, you have to be the one leading that run.”
Today, over 500,000 SOCCKET and PULSE products are being used across developing countries. The Barack Obama led administration invited her to the White House to represent small companies for the signing of the America Invents Act in 2012, and she currently serves as an Ambassador of Entrepreneurship for Nigeria. In 2016, she was selected to ring the NASDAQ opening ceremony bell, representing all Forbes 30 Under 30 alumna.
Uncharted Play now has 15 patents and patents pending for its technology; Matthews says its gross profit margins are doubling, year over year; and the company is profitable.
The company also recently raised a $7 million Series A round, which Matthews says is the largest amount raised by a woman of color, ever.