Ruben de Noronha a London-based 15-year old was just 13 when he developed his first android app and a year later he launched his technology-based business. Today, he not only runs two businesses successfully but is an inspiration to others his age. His message, ‘age does not matter and you can achieve your dreams’ is loud and clear. In an interview, Ruben speaks to NT KURIOCITY about his businesses, what got him started, juggling school and business, being a young entrepreneur and more.
Maria Fernandes/NT Kuriocity
Ruben de Noronha a London-based 15-year old has always dreamed of being an entrepreneur. His dream has now come true and the enterprising lad runs two businesses and works with local SMEs and start-ups to build their online presence by providing everything from websites and apps to graphics.
Of Goan descent, Ruben was born in Portugal and moved to UK at the age of three. Currently he is a student at St Bonaventure’s Catholic Comprehensive School, London, and is studying for his GCSE ie standard eleven (Indian equivalent of SSC). He is also the senior prefect of the school.
“I’ve always been fascinated by technology and how it changes and can change people’s lives. From the business perspective, I felt that apps are a great way for brands to enhance their customer experience, in the sense they are a great tool for brands to develop a deeper relationship with their loyal base. In fact, apps complement a brand’s offline experience. Hence I formed RDNHD Ltd not just to give an opportunity to local start-ups, SMEs and YouTubers to grow their online presence by providing everything from websites, apps to graphics but also to provide a platform to global tech conglomerates like Logitech to reach out to their customers,” explains Ruben as he speaks about his venture into the world of digital media and technology at the age of fourteen.
He adds: “Running my own business and being my own boss – being a trailblazer, was always my dream. I live by the quote, ‘If you don’t build your own dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs’, and this has resonated in me. My passion towards technology instilled confidence and ultimately lead me to make my dream come true. I have turned my passion into profit.”
His other business aptly called TechExplained is a division of RDNHD Ltd and is an initiative taken to dispel the tech myth that surrounds people. “At TechExplained, a community of writers and I, besides providing tech fans with tech reviews and the latest news in technology, also unravel or expose the tech myth and provide companies with a platform to explain their new technology to the general public and/or their target audience. These companies send their press releases or short articles on TechExplained and also advertise on my apps. No sooner I complete my GCSEs, TechExplained will be expanding in to the myth of cloud technology and how cyber risks can be efficiently mitigated,” he says confidently.
Besides the above, Ruben has also followed his long term goal and passion of having his own apps, to be precise four, on the Google Play Store which have been downloaded by thousands worldwide. “To be honest, I could have developed numerous other apps but my academic demands and time constraints compelled me to take a backseat and freeze all my plans until June, till the completion of my GCSEs. But I’ve promised my clients that I’ll be back – stronger and better.”
Speaking on the importance of digital media, he says: “Today going digital is the most cost effective way of reaching out to the target audience. It gives one a virtual 24 hour showroom without physically being there for 24hours. It helps any business to stand out and besides giving a far greater exposure than traditional marketing; it injects a sense of confidence in the prospective customers themselves to know that the brand they are interested in has a digital presence and is keeping pace with times. Brand building benefits as well, in the sense it facilitates customers to know more about the company and the products from the comfort of their home, office or wherever they are.”
Doing business with a teenager, specially with someone still in school, is not the norm but the steady rise in the number of Ruben’s clients worldwide proves otherwise. “Some customers feel a bit apprehensive initially. But after they see for themselves our portfolio and the type of clients that we have worked with, they come back. I have been taught by my dad to turn negatives into positive and I see my age as an advantage. Most of my clients never knew my age when they assigned the work to me but were gobsmacked once they realised my age. There are positives and negatives to being young but the advantage of being a young entrepreneur is massive,” he says.
When questioned how he manages to juggle and run his two firms side by side with his studies, he says: “It is difficult but not impossible. The word impossible itself denotes ‘I’ m possible’ and not the other way round. I’ve seen my dad doing this. He juggled and still juggles his work, our family property business, his consultancy and has simultaneously completed his MSc. I try and emulate my dad’s entrepreneurial spirit and his incredible time management skills. According to me, time management is the key.”
On March 12, at the TEDx International event at the University of Brighton, UK, Ruben became one of the youngest entrepreneurs to address an audience of two hundred odd people. “Getting invited to speak at TEDx was an honour and a dream come true. I remember watching TED talks on YouTube with my family and then being a part of it all was surreal.” His message to all present at the event was that age really doesn’t matter and that it’s all in the mind.
Ruben shared the TEDx stage with physicist and entrepreneur Emily Brooke; tech entrepreneur, Karen Mok; author and motivational speaker, Paul Sloane; personal development expert, coach and author, Paul Hannam and global engager and educator, Amelia Hagen. In one of her tweets to Ruben, Emily Brooke said she predicted fantastically big things for him and Paul Sloane called him a future Elon Musk.
He has also been acclaimed by multi-award winning young entrepreneur Ben Towers and business editor of ITV called his work impressive.
Besides his businesses and school, Ruben plays the piano and is an ardent football lover. Business tycoon, Richard Branson and Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs are people he admires and as he signs off, he says: “Do what you love, and the money will follow” and “Pursue excellence and success will follow”.
He adds: “Don’t think you are too young or too old, as age is all in the mind. Hence start now and don’t wait till you are 18, this way you will gain much more experience and knowledge and will learn on the go.”