- Jessica Matthews, 28
Jessica O. Matthews recalls that on the night of her aunt's wedding in Lagos, Nigeria, the power suddenly went out. "They brought in a diesel generator to keep the festivities going," she says. "I started to cough and got dizzy." The experience stuck with her and ultimately led her, as a junior at Harvard, to invent Soccket, a soccer ball that captures kinetic energy and stores the power in an internal generator that can light a room or charge a cell phone. Soccket, along with a jump rope called Pulse, generated more than $6 million in revenue last year for Matthews's company, Uncharted Play. The products are typically purchased by governments and large corporations that brand them, and distribute them in Africa, mostly through NGOs. Now, Matthews's wildly ambitious goal is to "democratize on-demand power for everyone" by rebranding her company as M.O.R.E. (motion-based, off-grid, renewable energy), an energy company that's creating a microgenerating system that can harness the kinetic energy of just about anything that moves. On deck: a baby stroller that generates enough power to charge a cell phone.
Note: All data as of 5/23/16