Black women have long been killing the science, technology, engineering and mathematic fields, unfortunately with little recognition.
Just last month, Jessica O. Matthews, CEO of Uncharted Play, raised $7 million in funding for her company — a venture that is monumental in its own right, but to boot, she also has created products that are changing how we look at renewable energy.
Those familiar with the tech startup world may see $7 million as a noble number, but can quickly point out other startups that have raised much more. However, the reason Matthews’ achievement is so important, is that black women in tech have unfortunately not nearly been able to pull in the kind of outside their companies are worthy of. At the time of a report released earlier this year, only 11 startups ran by black women have been able to raise more than $1 million in funding, even though there are about 100,000 tech companies ran by black women in the United States. Fast forward to today, there are only 13 black women who have been able to break the $1 million barrier, Matthews being the thirteenth. On average, most black female owned startups only receive a mere $36,000 in funding.
While it’s obvious that Matthews’ funding was a success, the products her company produces are uniquely innovative.
Imagine a soccer ball that serves as a portable generator, creating energy with every kick; enough to power a lamp for a few hours — that’s exactly what the SOCCKET does. They also have created the PULSE, a jump rope that generates energy with each turn. This energy is then stored within the rope’s handles for future use. Not only are these products useful in the United States, especially in helping kids remain active and educated about energy sources, they can be incredibly useful in countries where energy sources are scarce.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect about Uncharted Play’s products, is that they tap into a very niche segment of the tech industry, one that promotes physical activity and that provides practical usefulness. In a world struggling with a global environmental crisis, these gadgets provide us an insight to the future of what renewable energy sources could look like.