Matthew Ruffell

Studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
UCE Student Profile Matthew Ruffell
“Nothing in this world is impossible if you work hard enough for it.”

UCE Involvement

Lemonade Stand Challenge 2018

Summer Startup Programme 2017/18

Summer Startup Programme 2015/16

Student Incubator, Ongoing


UCanDance, 2016-18

What are you working on at UCE?

I am working on my business Dapper Linux Ltd, developing an easy to use ultra-secure operating system.

When did Dapper Linux Start?

Dapper Linux started in September 2016, I had just read about some kernel hardening stuff and thought wow, this is pretty complicated. From there I decided that if I could just automate all of the technical things and make it easy to use, maybe people would use it. About a week later I started writing code and then it snowballed into an operating system. I had domain names, code repositories and a functioning business within a month.

Where is Dapper Linux now and how have you progressed by being in the Summer Startup Programme?

Dapper Linux is now about getting out there in the community, talking to potential customers about adopting Dapper Linux. There are a few outstanding opportunities with international companies. Dapper Linux had no real marketing or community engagement before the Programme and the Programme also really helped me to talk to mentors about what direction to go and what customers to chase after.

You have been part of the UCE programme twice now, how did you find it the second time around?

The Programme has improved drastically, especially with the addition of speed mentoring. Being able to talk to some pretty smart people and creating leads is very valuable. The Red Bus Challenge was also a good addition - a good chance to put yourself in another company’s shoes for three days and look to see what you can improve. Personally, I was more disciplined with myself, taking notes from workshops and speakers so I didn’t lose any valuable information this time around.

What is your most memorable moment this summer at UCE?

Winning the baking competition with team ‘Pics’ - team ‘Pics’ was a little sub group of students who pitched and worked on entrepreneurial activities with each other. Along with four other teams, we were tasked with morning tea where we made peanut butter cheesecake and peanut butter cakes which turned out a colossal hit, earning a total score of 26/25! Coming up to the finish line at the 'UCE-Mazing Race' was also pretty memorable. The amazing race was an end of 2017, team building exercise which saw us running around campus solving clues and testing our knowledge of the university.

What do you find interesting about being an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur is a very addictive rollercoaster. There are always ideas to be had full of great promises and future returns. There may be some difficulties such as long nights, impossible workloads and even some failures along the way but entrepreneurship will always be worthwhile as you are harbouring innovation and creating new wealth. 

Now alongside all of this you run a dance club? Tell me about this! 

I run the UC Dance Club, UCanDance, a club where students can come together and learn to dance in a fun and relaxed environment. UCanDance is an excellent stepping stone to build skills and confidence that can springboard you into other local more professional dance clubs. I get great enjoyment out of running this because I get to see the entire cohort grow in a year. When I see how far they have come it makes me pretty happy that I can make a difference.

What advice would you give to a student considering starting up their own venture?

My advice would be to think up as many ideas as you can, one idea a day if possible. And research - the internet has a wealth of information about every topic in existence. Use other people’s thoughts and ideas to springboard yourself into something innovative and new and then go ahead and do it, you learn best by physically giving it a go. 

What are your plans for this year?

My plans for this year are to continue on with my PhD, keeping on building Dapper Linux and getting some sales. 

What are your aspirations for the future and for Dapper Linux? 

My aspirations for Dapper Linux include getting acquired at some point and my personal aspirations involve running a few successful businesses to keep my life interesting and busy.

Any ideas for those future business’s?

I will probably end up starting a Manuka honey company. I also want to start a warrant of fitness service business where people collect your car while you’re at work for example, get a warrant then deliver it back.