We’re live in Austin this week, and every day, we’ll introduce you to one of the most outside-the-box finalists in the SXSW Accelerator Competition – the premier start-up showcase at the annual South by Southwest festival.
Who: Matt Stanton and Hahna Alexander, co-founders of SolePower
Where: Pittsburgh, Pa.
When: Started working in the fall of 2011, anticipating first products will ship near the end of 2015
Capital raised: Raised $60,000 through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in 2013 and won a $100,000 from Steve Case during the AOL co-founder’s Rise of the Rest tour last summer.
What’s the pitch?
Stanton: “We’re making energy-harvesting shoe insoles. As you walk, they take the kinetic energy from your step and convert it into electrical energy, store that energy in an external battery pack, and you can plug that battery back into any USB-compatible device, such as your smartphone. For every hour of walk time, you end up with about 30 minutes of talk time.”
How did you come up with the idea?
“It was actually born out of a class project at Carnegie Mellon. My co-founder and I graduated two years ago, and we were able to find funding while we were in college. With the university’s support and the support, we were able to stick with it and hit the ground running after school, and we moved into a local start-up incubator.”
What has the experience been like at SXSW?
“We came down here looking for people who could help us grow and break into the market. We have made a number of great connections, and it’s been great to get in front of investors, potential partners, other start-ups with similar technology. It has been well worth the trip.”