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Innovation & Startups

Take a walk and recharge your batteries with Pittsburgh startup SolePower

Pittsburgh startup SolePower is taking power walking to a new level.
The energy harvesting startup and graduate of Innovation Work’s AlphaLab has created a portable battery that fits comfortably into the insole your shoe. A short walk of two to five miles is enough to generates power to recharge your iPhone and other small electronics.
Founded by CMU grads Matt Stanton and Hahna Alexander, SolePower began as a design project at CMU. The duo are mounting a Kickstarter campaign now, hoping to raise $50,000 to put the finishes touches on the prototype and take the final product to market.
SolePower was designed to withstand the elements. It’s waterproof and weather resistant and built to withstand 100 million steps, which is probably more durable than your favorite walking shoes.

“To start we’re targeting outdoor enthusiasts,” says cofounder Matt Stanton. “We think there’s also a huge military market.”

While competition in this space abounds, SolePower has several advantages, Stanton says. The light weight of the insole and the fact the device is not solar and dependent on whether are a bonus.
“Other batteries are bulky and heavy,” he says. 
The product has potential for first responders and relief workers in the midst of natural disasters. Avid walkers, campers in the wilderness, even business people on the go will appreciate the simplicity of a walking recharge.
“It’s amazing how many people around the world have cell phones but have no regular access to power,” says Stanton.

The startup employs three full-time, six total. Plans call for expanding to a new office in Oakland above Fuel and Fuddle in July.  Manufacturing should get underway in 2014 with the help of IW’s new AlphaGear program, which assists startups that are going into manufacturing.

“AlphaLab helped us on the business side to orchestrate a full business plan and get it to market,” he says.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Matt Stanton, SolePower
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