Welcome to Season 3! I’m thrilled to be back on this journey with you, and am super excited to kick off with an episode about courage, confidence, innovation, science, social impact and entrepreneurship: a heart-to-heart with inventor and tour de force, Jessica O Matthews. This show was recorded in a meeting room at the UN Headquarters in New York, while we were attending the global Nexus Summit!
Jessica O Matthews is the Founder & CEO of Uncharted Power, an award-winning, full-service power and data infrastructure company. The Company develops technologies in energy generation, transmission and storage, and also engineers consumer products for Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and various international governments. Uncharted Power has loads of patents and was founded by Jessica when she was 22 years old.
A dual citizen of Nigeria & the U.S., Jessica has a degree in Psychology and Economics from Harvard University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and is listed on over 10 patents and patents pending—including her ﬁrst invention of the SOCCKET, an energy generating soccer ball, at the age of 19. In 2016, Jessica raised the second largest Series A 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 alumna. Her list of accolades is almost endless and it includes: Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, Forbes 30 under 30 list, Inc Magazine 30 under 30, and Harvard University Scientist of the Year.
We talked about how Jessica’s upbringing led her to innovate in the field of power generation, despite having no formal scientific education. We discussed the implications of energy poverty and the challenges in overcoming it in a quick, scalable and sustainable manner. I was reminded that electrification is not just a developing market issue, as recent black-outs in New York and other cities have shown. We talked about the difficulties starting and scaling up a business, especially as a woman of color. We discussed leadership, diversity and even location: Jessica moved the company’s headquarters from Midtown Manhattan to (arguably less glamorous) Harlem to create a better environment for innovation! This is one woman to watch…
There were a few quotes I loved in this episode, but I’ll stick to two: “Just coz it wasn’t your plan, doesn’t mean it isn’t your destiny” (WOW!) and “I need to love who I am”. Jessica’s book recommendation is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.