Social Enterprise Innovation Firm “Uncharted Play” Lets Customers Sponsor Needy Kids Through New Online Store

Soccket soccer ball - photo of Obama balancing a white ballUncharted Play, creators of the innovative SOCCKET–a soccer ball that harnesses and stores energy from play for later use as a portable light source targeted to undeveloped regions of the world–has just opened an online store. There customers can shop for Uncharted Play products, including our flagship product, the SOCCKET. And each SOCCKET purchased gives one child the opportunity to join a SOCCKET Team, providing access to renewable SOCCKET power and a STEM curriculum. Also, for $25 a canvas collapsible water bottle can be purchased, and one child is supported. For $39, a T-shirt could be bought and a child is sponsored as well.

Uncharted Play was created in 2011 and today creates products that harness the energy of play into actual electricity. The company has distributed some 10,000 SOCCKET balls in the United States, Mexico, and various parts of Africa.

Uncharted Play is a for-profit venture that generated about $2 million in revenue in 2012. It partners with corporate sponsors like Western Union and State Farm, which pay to distribute the balls as part of their corporate social responsibility programs. spoke with Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO, about the new online store. Why did the company decide to open an online store?
Jessica O. Matthews: Uncharted Play funds our social impact through our retail sales. We do this through the sale of SOCCKETs, water bottles, and other accessories by building a set donation into the cost of each product. For every Uncharted Play product purchased, renewable SOCCKET power and an inspiring STEM education curriculum is provided to a child in need. What has the response been so far?
JM: The response has been overwhelming! Since the official launch of our store November 20th, we have received orders from 20 countries around the globe, including the United States, Canada, Australia, England and Japan. In the United States, orders have come in from 42 states. We are so proud to have our online store receive such a positive response around the globe, in just our first week of sales. You opened it in time for the holiday season.
JM: Yes, it was our goal to open the online store in time for the holiday season. We felt our fans would be delighted to give a SOCCKET as a holiday gift, especially when our products are gifts that give back, with each purchase providing renewable SOCCKET power and a STEM education to a child in need. In addition, our online store allowed us to announce the exclusive release of the Beta Limited Edition PULSE in time for the holidays! The PULSE is an energy-harnessing jump rope. For the exclusive beta release, only 100 jump ropes will be made. Each PULSE is custom-made, one at a time. It is custom-designed, with cutting-edge 3D printing technology and specially made handles to maximize energy production. Like the SOCCKET, the PULSE harnesses the kinetic energy from play and converts it into electrical energy that can be used to power small appliances.
? What are your goals for the online store?
JM: Our goal for the online store is to grow retail sales, so that we continue to fund our social impact around the world, providing reliable energy, light and an inspiring STEM education curriculum to children in need. In addition, our online store will be a platform for us to add to our suite of play products. In addition to the PULSE, we are developing an American football, a skateboard and a smart soccer ball. We also plan to feature fun accessories, like t-shirts, water bottles, socks ?and other items.