Jessica O. Matthews is the woman of the hour. She is the highly skilled and intelligent black female founder and CEO of a renewable energy tech startup called Uncharted Play. Just recently, her company was able to close a $7 million Series A round led by the NIC Fund with participation from Kapor Capital Magic Johnson Enterprises, BBG Ventures as well as Lingo Ventures.
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With the funding made available and will be used for future developments, Uncharted Play is planning to build a dynamic team that will be able to support the partners that the company is bringing in the coming months. The mission of Uncharted Play is to spread awareness about global energy and the use of clean reusable power through technology and play. There are alternative solutions that can make a difference, this is probably one of them.
The $7 million investment in Uncharted Play makes Matthews the 13th black female founder who has raised more than $1 million in outside investment. Earlier in the month, at Disrupt SF, Morgan DeBaun from Blavity said that she’s raised over $1 million in funding and is still actively raising. DeBaun was recognized as the 12th black female founder to raise over $1 million.
In the technology ecosystem, black female founders are often snubbed and receive basically zero venture capital. In the span of time from 2012 to 2014, involving thousands of deals, less than 1 percent of them went to black women which was, according to a recent report conducted by #ProjectDiane. It is a shame that these are the facts, but Uncharted Play has seemed to changed the whole game.
The first product of Uncharted Play is called SOCCKET, which is a soccer ball that can double as an effective power generator. The SOCCKET uses the rotational energy that gets generated every time the ball rolls to produce three hours of light for every hour of play. Fascinating!
The second product is the PULSE, a jump rope that can double as a light. The two product innovations are powered by MORE (motion-based, off-grid, renewable energy, Uncharted Play’s proprietary technology for micro-generator systems. The systems can integrate into anything that moves, and will be able to transform a certain product, like a soccer ball or a jump rope, into a source of off-grid power. The goal is to have better energy solutions and be able to utilize kinetic energy in order to complement or, if the need arises, even replace other energy systems.
The MORE technology inside the everyday products we use, like strollers, shopping carts and suitcases is Uncharted Play’s business model and entails partnering with product manufacturers across industries like consumer electronics and infrastructure. The idea is that you will then be able to use the energy produced by a certain product to charge another product, say for example, a phone and other things.
Uncharted Play envisions a world where people shift from the mentality of ‘hoard & save’ energy to a ‘continuous and on-demand’ experience which will be enjoyed by the people who make use of it.