At age 32 Jessica O. Matthews boasts of a super impressive resume; talk two degrees from Harvard, 11 patents, getting recognition from Barack Obama, a Harvard Foundation Scientist of the Year award and still going strong.
She has applaudably established herself as a link between the wealthy world and communities. Her passion to impact the world stems from her dual nationality as a Nigerian and US citizen.
Matthews is an energy inventor, founder and CEO of Uncharted Power, an award-winning, power access company, that transforms the ground beneath us into smart, secure and cost-effective infrastructure for renewable energy access. She founded the company in 2011 at age 22.
“I always wanted to be the love-child of Beyoncé and Bill Nye the Science Guy,” Jessica O. Matthews says with a laugh. “That’s the perfect embodiment of hard work, looking good, but also the science – the belief and interest. Bill Nye the Science Guy made magic real, and the more accessible [science] is, the greater chance we have at living in a better world. We need to empower more people to engage with topics that seem out of reach.”
Unlike most of her peers, right from an early age Matthews knew her passion and purpose. Her love for invention was clear. She kicked off her career at age of 19 with her invention of the SOCCKET, an energy generating soccer ball with a battery intended to help store electricity for off the grid villages in Africa.
She was motivated to create SOCCKET after attending an aunt’s wedding in Nigeria, which was disrupted by a power outage.
That invention which after 30 minutes of play, generates enough energy to power a small, attachable LED light for three hours won President Barack Obama’s attention and landed on the world stage. However following certain problems encountered, the idea was left behind, but that laid the foundation for inspiration.
Then came in Uncharted Power, the company’s proprietary suite of technology creates the “internet fordecentralized energy” that can easily interconnect decentralized power applications (residential solar, electric vehicle charging stations, IoT sensors, etc.) into one sustainable network, bridging the power access gap between current grid and off-grid solutions.
Uncharted Power has been warmly received and has infact captured former NBA star Magic Johnson as an investor and part the company’s board, she’s raised considerable funding toom
In 2016, the tech genius raised the bar as the largest Series A round ever raised by a Black female founder in history, and was selected to ring the NASDAQ opening ceremony bell, representing all Forbes 30 Under 30 alumni.
“There’s always a bit of uncertainty as a female entrepreneur. As female CEOs, we tend to stay in our lane and only do what we know we can do with certainty. It took time before I became even remotely comfortable with the idea of addressing infrastructure-level problems. I used to think, ‘If I’m not the best person to do something, should I do it?’ And now I tell myself, ‘But am I the worst?’ This is certainly not the time for me to cower.”
Matthews’ has a degree in psychology and economics from Harvard University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and is listed on over 12 patents and patents pending. Her list of accolades include Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, Forbes 30 Under 30, Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30, and Harvard University Scientist of the Year.