Emile Ferreira fullstack developer
Emile Ferreira

Award-winning full stack developer and entrepreneur, advancing the world one line of code at a time.

CEO and bot whisperer at InsiteBot.
Recipient of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowship.
Breakthrough Developer of the Year, MTN Business.

  • years old
  • Cape Town, South Africa
Experience
2021 - Present
Co-founder — Cogl

Cogl effortlessly grades South African high school question papers on their difficulty, according to the Bloom and Barrett taxonomies, and ensures the correct distribution of questions.

2020 - Present
CEO and bot whisperer — InsiteBot

InsiteBot is a personalized, AI-powered chatbot for your website. It's as easy to set up as editing a spreadsheet.

2019 - Present
Speaker — Debugged

Debugged offers computer science talks and crash courses at Stellenbosch University. A portion of proceeds are donated to Code for Change.

2017 - Present
Founder — Bestee

The world's fastest and only offline virtual assistant.

2019 - 2019
Senior developer — OccuPi Space

I managed the technical operations at OccuPi and development for the online property platform as well as GCP integration.

2017 - 2017
Intern developer — Root Wealth

Root enables you to rapidly launch new products and open digital distribution channels to drive growth in your insurance business.

2017 - 2017
Developer — Repl.it

A free, collaborative, in-browser IDE to code in 50+ languages — without spending a second on setup.

2016 - 2016
Web developer — Aura Host

Web hosting and design company based in Hermanus, South Africa.

Education
2019 - 2021
BSc Mathematical Sciences (Computer Science)

I studied mathematics, with a focus in computer science and machine learning, at Stellenbosch University. This was funded by the SU merit bursary and Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.

2014 - 2018
National Senior Certificate

I attended SACS High School on the Victoria Scholarship and, among other accolades, achieved a 90% average in my final year.

2016 - 2017
Design and UI

I studied university-level design principles and best practices at Putter School.

My Story
2004

I could type before I could write; I was given my first computer at 4 years old. Two years later I was designing rudimentary computers and impersonating David Attenborough.


2012

At 12 years old I taught myself how to code in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. This enabled me to work as a freelance web developer. Within a year I had been commissioned and paid for my first website.

After 3 years I'd built up an extensive portfolio of websites and worked at a web design studio.


2016

We started coding in Delphi at my school and learnt SQL for database management. I took well to this and became the assistant IT teacher.

I started development on my own video game, Light Bringer, which deals with the social issues that plague South Africa. I had to learn 3D modelling and coding in C# to do this. Read this article by Unity and this one by Between 10 and 5.


2017

At 16 years old I worked for Silicon Valley-based IT company Repl.it, alongside colleagues from Google and Facebook, whilst attending high school in Cape Town.

Later in the year I interned at Root, a company revolutionizing insurance. While there, I developed a secure banking app which generates a random pin for each transaction and keeps your card disabled, except right when you need it. Unfortunately, this app got wrapped up in red tape and never launched publicly.

I learnt Python in order to automate routine tasks and do web scraping.

I attended the Google Cloud developers' conference which gave me insight into the future of cloud storage and computing. I also completed a 2-year design and UI course at Putter School - furthering my creative pursuits.

I built my own computer from recycled laptop parts.


2018

I received the Victoria scholarship from SACS High School for academic merit; the most prestigious award obtainable at school level.

A few weeks later I launched Bestee. She's a virtual assistant app like Google Assistant or Siri but offline, private and much faster.

I was invited to the App of the year awards, hosted by MTN Business, where I was named breakthrough developer of the year and Bestee received the award for most innovative solution. I was also invited to present Bestee at the Web Summit in Lisbon.

I went on to make my first live TV appearance; I was hosted on the Hectic Nine-9 show on SABC 2 to talk about my inspiring story. I also made an appearance in Popular Mechanics and Stuff magazine.

I created a prototype smart mirror that displays the time, weather and my upcoming calendar events.

I was awarded the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowship to fund my further studies. The fellowship is given to the 100 most high-impact, responsible entrepreneurs in Southern Africa.

All this whilst still in high school.


2019

I began studying towards a degree in computer science at Stellenbosch University, funded by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.

Noroff University in Oslo, Norway invited me as a guest lecturer to address their students on the journey to success in the world of technology.

I was featured in the Morning Brew; one of the biggest tech newsletters in the world.

I began hosting computer science crash courses at Stellenbosch University, along with two friends, for charity.

I worked for OccuPi Space, a commercial property marketplace, as a senior developer - whilst juggling university lectures, scholarship commitments and Bestee's development.

I took part in the SU Hackathon, along with my team of 3 first-year computer science students. We developed a banking app that creates a Bluetooth Low Energy mesh network of all nearby devices, allowing for offline mobile banking in rural and developing areas, for which we ended up as the overall winners. We were invited to pitch our solution to the executive boards of Capitec Bank and Entersekt.

I wrapped up the academic year at Stellenbosch University with distinctions for all my modules, 102% for computer science and a 90% average.


2020

At 19 I became CEO to a tech startup; InsiteBot is an AI-powered website chatbot that's as easy to set up as editing a spreadsheet. It provides instant answers to your customer's questions, while gathering insights for your business and boosting leads. We launched on Product Hunt where it trended on the front page, netting us thousands of users and investor interest within hours.

I was awarded the SU academic merit bursary for being in the top 5% of the mathematical sciences faculty at Stellenbosch University. I was also selected to join the Golden Key International Honour Society as one of the top 15% of students in the world.

My virtual assistant app, Bestee, surpassed 50 thousand users.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, I took part in the Harvard University CS50x Puzzle Day with a few friends. We did exceptionally well.

I built a web server. It's running a private cloud syncing service (like dropbox) with 2TB of storage.

As a university project, I created a fully-functional compiler in, written in C, for a fictitious programming language that compiles to JVM bytecode. It's complete with syntax, semantic and type checking. I also simultaneously learnt R code and MATLAB for my mathematical statistics and applied mathematics courses respectively.

I delved deeper by studying computer architecture at a circuitry level. I also learnt to write Intel assembly code and created a BF interpreter using it. Unfortunately I can't open-source these projects due to university policy.


2021

I ranked in the top 10% of app developers in the world, by app reviews, according to AppBrain and Bestee passed the 100 thousand users milestone.

I released Definitively Black; my personal VS Code theme.

I was re-awarded the SU academic merit bursary and again invited to Golden Key. Taking mathematical statistics enabled me to take an honours-level machine learning course in my third year. I learnt ML from first principles; dimensionality reduction (PCA and LDA), un- and supervised classification (Naive-Bayes, logistic regression, K-means and GMM) and Hidden Markov Models. In my web dev module I created web apps and APIs with Flask and Node.js as well as learnt advanced database queries.

Word on the street

Emile is very talented not only in coding but also in video production and has a knack for marketing as well. This makes him one of a kind technical talent.

Amjad Masad
CEO and President of Repl.it

Emile has excelled at SACS and has risen above his peers especially in the academic aspect of school life. A friendly and easily likeable young man, his achievments made him well respected within the school.

B. J. Grant
Headmaster of SACS High School

If you are looking for someone who is prepared, competent, industrious, creative, entrepreneurial, connective and - above all, a really decent human being - you will have found that in Emile.

Andrew Putter
Director of Putter School

Continue with your good work as it is important for acceleration of health outcomes on our continent.

Dr Moredreck Chibi
Regional Director of the World Health Organization

I want to congratulate [Emile] for winning the Fintech Coding Challenge. This is certainly a fantastic achievement for a group of first year students!

Prof Louise Warnich
Dean of Science, Stellenbosch University

In over 15 years of running a design and hosting company I have never seen such potential and enthusiasm for our industry.

Thomas Knowler
CEO of Aura Hosting

Elon Musk of the future.

Annette Muller
Founder of Flexyforce

Punctuality, efficiency, responsibility, conduct, willingness - all exellent.

Louw Hopley
CEO of Root Wealth
Contact

Thanks. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

© Emile Ferreira. All Rights Reserved.