Sustainable energy practices and renewable energy is often the focus of discussion surrounding the future and the survival of the human species. Uncharted Play has pioneered Motion Based Renewable Energy (MORE) products in the form of soccer balls and jump ropes that also create a reliable source of energy through its micro generation technology that is embedded into anything that moves. Presently being used in the developing world, this technology can be integrated into anything that moves and it will serve us a source of off grid power. Often we write about companies that think they are changing the world, but this one may actually do it.
AlleyWatch chatted with founder and CEO Jessica O. Matthews, and got the inside scoop on the novel product line, its ramifications, and the details on their latest round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Our investors include The NIC Fund, Kapor Capital, Magic Johnson Enterprises, BBG Ventures, and Lingo Ventures. We raised $7 million Series A round.
Tell us about your product or service.
Our core product is called MORE (Motionbased, Offgrid, Renewable Energy), a proprietary technology for microgenerator system design. These custom microgenerator systems can be fully integrated into almost anything that moves, transforming that product into a source of offgrid power. We partner with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to integrate our MORE technology into their products.
We also integrate our MORE technology into our flagship products the SOCCKET, an energy generating soccer ball, and the PULSE, an energy generating jump rope. Both products are designed to provide light and teach STEM around the world.
What inspired you to start Uncharted Play?
The Uncharted Play dream began in 2008 when Jessica O. Matthews was a junior at Harvard University. Studying to be a social scientist with no experience in engineering, she nonetheless participated in a class project to invent the SOCCKET, an energy harnessing soccer ball. The idea came from Jessica’s experiences as a dual citizen of Nigeria and the U.S., witnessing firsthand during her trips to Nigeria two things: the profound lack of access to reliable electricity, and the unadulterated joy/passion that came from playing soccer.
How is Uncharted Play different?
With the expansion of our MORE technology we are poised to disrupt the energy space by changing not only how energy is generated, but how it is consumed. From a diversity perspective, our Founder & CEO, Jessica O. Matthews, recognizes that in being a black female, she does not look like many of the other entrepreneurs in this space, yet each day she welcomes the opportunity to introduce diversity of experience and perspective to the field with her presence and with her contributions, inspiring others along the way. Her inclusion on this list would provide the ultimate platform to showcase herself and Uncharted Play, introducing people to Uncharted Play’s revolutionary movement in the field of energy, as well as promoting and supporting diversity within the hardware tech and energy landscape.
What market you are targeting and how big it?
With the increasing number of mobile and Internet of things (IoT) devices, there is a growing need for alternative sources of power that are untethered from the grid, renewable, and on demand. We are targeting a number of different industry verticals looking to power the IoT, including lifestyle products such a baby strollers, sports and wellness, infrastructure and wearables. We want to help OEMs tap into the $70 billion dollar market for mobile devices.
What’s your business model?
We are a B2B tech company. We partner with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to integrate our MORE technology into their products. We work with partners to develop the custom generator, integrate into the supply chain, and supply the energy-harnessing unit.
Do you think ‘playing’ is needed more than ever in this day and age?
Both adults and kids alike get less than the recommended amount of physical activity. Play is also essential to cognitive development and understanding the world around us. When play is removed from our everyday activities, we lose critical opportunities to practice problem solving, communication, and reasoning. Play is at the root and heart of the company.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are working with some exciting partners to integrate our MORE technology into a variety of products. We plan to announce some of these partners and release new products in 2017. Stay tuned!
Where do you see Uncharted Play going now over the near term?
After the raise we moved the company to Harlem. This fall we are launching our new technology brand, MORE, Motion Based Off grid Renewable Energy. So what’s next is really building a successful energy company that has groundbreaking technology that will change not only the way people generate energy, but the way they consume it, and attempting to do that successfully in Harlem. What we successfully did so far is raise a round, build a team, and move up here. Now we have to see what we can sustain and build while you’re up here.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?