When a friend’s mobile phone was confiscated in class, Aanikh Kler had an epiphany that led to the development of a ringtone that could only be heard by people under 21. It not only changed his life, but the lives of underprivileged kids halfway around the world.
Like any other 15-year-old, Aanikh Kler’s life is a juggling act between academics and extracurricular activities. In addition to maintaining his grades, he’s involved in basketball, soccer, rowing, field hockey, and clubs at St. George’s, a private prep school in Vancouver. Then there’s also his newly launched smart phone app and social enterprise, UndrtheRadr, and his role at the David Suzuki Foundation in a council dedicated to rewriting the Canadian Constitution to include environmental rights.
“It’s all very important to me,” says the Grade 10 student. “It’s a great opportunity for me to improve my time management skills.”
Okay, so Kler isn’t any other 15-year-old.
This driven, idealistic teen’s passion to change the world—and help its underprivileged children—was sparked two years ago on a trip to Cambodia. Visiting the ruins at Angkor Wat, he noticed a young girl selling bracelets. The girl resembled one of Kler’s cousins. “It struck me how fate works,” says Kler, the son of a dentist and human-rights lawyer. “How come my cousin wasn’t that little girl?
How come I wasn’t one of those boys there?”
And then came what the teen describes as his “apple on the head moment.” A friend’s cell phone rang in the middle of class and was confiscated. Kler did some research and realized there was a frequency of sound, 17 kilohertz, which only people under 21 can hear. What if the frequency was used as a ringtone for teens to avoid getting in trouble from adults?
As Kler notes, this idea by itself isn’t revolutionary. So-called “mosquito ringtones” (the pests emit noise at the same frequency) have already been sold. In other countries, the frequency is even played in public spaces to discourage youth loitering.
Unlike his competitors, however, Kler is donating between 40 to 50% of his profits from his smart phone app, UndrtheRadr, to the Canadian children’s charity, Free the Children.
What makes the app, which sells for 99 cents, so inspired is the relationship that it draws from “have” to “have not” kids.
“I realized I could connect teenagers with an app to other kids around the world who need their help,” notes Kler, who picked Free the Children because of their emphasis on providing free education to disadvantaged children worldwide. “The app is meant to inspire teenagers to help support children who are truly under the radar.”
Since launching in March, UndrtheRadr has already cracked the Apple’s charts as one of its top 45 paid apps. Kler’s social enterprise has gotten an additional boost with his appearance on the Dragon’s Den and a subsequent partnership with Arlene Dickinson. “I was honoured and privileged to get a deal with Arlene Dickinson and an opportunity to work with her amazing team,” adds Kler.
As one would expect, Kler’s parents are beaming with pride. “As parents we always have hopes and dreams about our children’s abilities, but we’ve seen in Aanikh from a very young age that he’s a gifted individual in his empathy and his ability to multitask, focus, and be innovative,” says Kler’s mother, Ajeet Kler. “I’m choking up a little here.”
At the moment, Kler is focused on enjoying life as a not-so-ordinary 15-year-old.
“Half the stuff I’m doing today is so surreal,” he admits. When asked about his future plans, the 15-year-old knows he’ll remain a social entrepreneur. “People need to understand how important businesses are in implementing positive change throughout the world,” he says. UndrtheRadr, Kler insists, is only his first step in giving to others: “I’m not going to be a one-hit wonder.”
For more information, please visit: http://www.undrtheradr.com
Download the UndrTheRadr App and 20% of proceeds will go to Free The Children:
Join the conversation with #HearTheChange
Arlene Dickinson Enterprises is proud to include UndrtheRadr in our investment portfolio
Photograph: Grady Mitchell