I seriously can't remember what the 14 years old Joseph was doing, but one thing is for sure it certainly didn't involve in building no app, or starting a business. I think at 14 years old, I was probably caught in between commentating on football, and playing it. Anyway, this is not about me, and today I speak to an amazing talent that goes by the name of Nina Devani.
So let's get to it.
Hi Nina, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
Hi Joseph, I’m very good; thank you, Happy New Year.
Happy New Year. So can you give us some background information about yourself?
Well, my name is Nina. I’m fourteen years old and I currently go to school in St Albans where I’m in the first year of my GCSEs. I guess I’ve always been someone who didn’t like to follow the crowd and so have always been looking to do something more than my normal school activities. You could probably describe me as one of these people who can never sit still. I need to be doing something constructive that I can look back on at the end of each day and say ‘I achieved something’. As weird as that sounds, this really describes me down to a tee.
Is this your first business?
Yes, it is my first formal business but I’ve always been doing deals and negotiating in virtually everything I do, I probably even decided the day of my birth as I was born a month premature!
How did the idea for Prompt Me Nina come about?
The idea actually came about when my dad was complaining to me about how one of his online accounts had been compromised and he had to then go and change the passwords to all his accounts. He, like many other people was keeping the same password for multiple accounts. Once he changed them all, he had difficulty remembering them and so I thought that there must be a solution to this. I came up with Prompt Me Nina as a result.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
The hardest part was convincing my dad that I could actually solve his problem. He didn’t think that someone as young as me could implement a solution, let alone create a business from it. So I decided to prove that not only could I do this, but also that I could be as good as some of the people that he mentors in real life.
What is Prompt me Nina? And what are you trying to solve with it?
Prompt Me Nina is an app designed to make your online world much easier and efficient. Without storing your actual password, Prompt Me Nina can reminds you of what you used by allowing you to set a memorable prompt for it, which will only mean something to you. The prompt you set is entirely up to you and we will not even store it in our system. Nobody can therefore know your password except you and you can even save your prompts in a variety of applications such as DropBox. Whenever you need someone prompt you, you can simply use the Prompt Me Nina application to remind you. This is much safer than giving away your password to external companies and it also means that if your phone is even lost or stolen, no one can automatically log on to your accounts because you never stored your password in the first place! That’s why I believe Prompt Me Nina is the new, unique and easy way to help people remember their passwords.
How have you been able to fund it?
I approached a number of my dads’ contacts directly and presented a business plan and an overview of the markets that my solution could be implemented in to provide strong revenue streams long term. The idea was pretty much grasped by all immediately and so believe it or not, the fundraising was actually the easiest of my challenges.
How do you fit in the work on Prompt me Nina with your studies?
I actually live and breathe Prompt Me Nina, so I’m thinking about it and working on it pretty much 24 hours a day. Even when I’m asleep I’m thinking about it and solving problems and issues and coming up with new ways to derive new revenue streams and reducing costs. My school have supported me in the venture and I have the backing of my Headmistress to grow the business. Of course I still work hard at school as I recognise the value of a good education.
After school I make enough time for it just like I would have to with any piece of homework I get given and sometimes I will try to do my homework on the coach journey, which is about 45 minutes. Running the business can mean that most days I will go to bed an hour or two later than I planned to, but I still manage to wake up on time the next day. At the weekends, I again make time for getting business tasks completed just like I would have to with any piece of homework.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
It has been the most exciting time of my life. I am learning new things every day, whether its conference calls with my development team, spending hours and hours testing or creating new pages for my website, every task has been great fun and motivational to complete as I move closer and closer to getting the first finished application. The satisfaction I got from seeing the final release cannot even be put into words to describe.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
It was difficult to select the right partners to help me develop my App at the right price with the right quality. Luckily I have found an excellent partner who has not only believed in the idea but also believed in me as a youngster to build the application exactly as I have specified. I would like to thank Dom and Keith from Creation Application for believing in me and delivering the App to my exact and sometimes demanding requirements.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Raising my funding was rewarding as I knew that if external investors believed in the idea then I had a very good chance of turning this venture into a viable business. However that honeymoon was short lived and no sooner had I raised the cash, all my energy was turned to delivering the App as I had described to my investors.
The design phase was just great and I could see how my creative ability was able to take shape into a real offering that works just as I wanted it to. Launching the App is a historical moment and one that will remain with me forever!
What should we be expecting from yourself and Prompt me Nina team for 2013?
I am now working on versions for iOS, Windows and Mac which will allow me to launch an enterprise version that will save the IT departments of major companies millions of pounds in time and money solving one of the most common and time consuming problems they have.
Lastly, what advice can you give other people in school who want to start their own business?
Well that’s an easy one. Don’t think that you are too young to start your own business and don’t think that it’s all too much of a task to start. Once you get going problems become smaller and what seemed impossible suddenly is achievable and real. It seems like a journey that is too hard to undertake and so many people give up before they start. My advice would be to jump into it and start and if you persevere then the road is clears and before you know it, you will be well on the path to success!