Ruben Harris

June 5, 2024
5 min read

Early Life and Schooling

Ruben Harris is an Atlanta native, who went from the banking industry to becoming the CEO of Career Karma, a Silicon Valley tech placement firm. His journey to becoming an entrepreneur is an atypical one. It began with friends and future business partners Artur and Timur Meyster creating a tech career mobile app in 2018. In less than four years, Career Karma has grown into a community of 150,000 members and counting.

He was born in Northern California but his family would relocate to Atlanta, Georgia. After high school graduation, he attended Southern Adventist University, where he majored in both Business Administration and Music (Cello). According to his LinkedIn profile, he’s organized more than 50 events during college. While these were various causes, he had the privilege of working with many notable figures in show business and sports, like businessman and recording artist Jay-Z.

After graduating in 2010 with two Bachelor of Science degrees, he worked a few jobs before entering the world of banking. During this time, he also worked on operational improvements for Senior Living Communities in Atlanta. His first job out of college was a marketing manager position with Woodlake Entertainment where he oversaw digital marketing and communications. He would later go on to earn a Computer Science credential at Stanford University.

Career Karma

In April 2018, Harris, along with the Meyster brothers, started CareerKarma.com as a mobile app. Its mission is to be a resource for people seeking work in the tech industry. Most members lack traditional education or knowledge of tasks like coding or machine learning. The site is also targeted to underrepresented groups in tech, particularly women, Blacks, Latinos, and the differently-abled.

Ruben Harris of Career Karma

In a short time, the app grew into a full-service site that serves as a solid resource for anyone looking to get into tech. Features include Bootcamp listings and software tutorials, along with advice from Silicon Valley veterans who’ve also created a nontraditional path. There’s also a place for members to be matched with a compatible training institution as well as networking opportunities. Career Karma also provides support after members have received training and are placed in their desired position.

Investments have played a large part in Career Karma’s incredible growth in recent years. In addition to receiving venture capital funding from some notable e-commerce figures, Career Karma has also raised $40 million from Series B funding. As of January 2022, Harris and his partners have raised nearly $52 million. He also continues to serve as co-host on his podcast, which has a growing listenership.

“Our goal is to help a billion people in 10 years or less, and the reason we are a social enterprise is because we have a scalable solution to arguably the largest economic issue of our time — which is preparing workers for the 4th Industrial Revolution,”

Early Career

After completing a couple of banking internships in 2010, Harris worked for BMO Capital Markets as an Investment Banking Analyst. His focus was on Food, Consumer, and Retail companies. He endured nearly two years of Chicago’s cold weather before heading back to Atlanta. He worked briefly in banking as well as an advisor for Forge Health. It was also during this time that organized Atlanta’s first Health Hackathon.

By 2014, Harris was ready for a change. After leaving his jobs in Atlanta, he migrated out west to San Francisco intending to break into the tech industry. He had no formal education or experience in this super-competitive field but he had a vision.

“In the future, every industry would be driven by tech.”

Harris Silicon Valley

As Harris adjusted to the Silicon Valley climate, he worked in several advisory and management positions around the Bay area. While his time in most of these positions was relatively short, it gave him a taste of the tech world. Early in this stage, he wrote a blog post for Medium, which gained many shares. The post also led to networking with venture capitalists, who encouraged him to start his tech firm.

Harris with the Meysters

Working with the Meysters (who are also twin brothers and self-taught engineers from Ukraine), Harris had an idea. His goal was to create a community on a journey similar to his - nontraditional entry into the tech field. This began with a podcast called Breaking into Startups. This featured individuals with nontraditional backgrounds who broke into tech despite not having a related degree or connections.

“You can break into tech from any background, but the first product you build is yourself.”

Over a short period, it also gained traction, as it has more than three million followers today and featured in TechCrunch, Entrepreneur, and Black Enterprise.

Leadership and Awards

In addition to being an active NAACP member, Harris is a founder who has worked with many organizations and groups to bring light to numerous causes. Besides diversity in the tech field, he’s also served on committees dedicated to healthcare, food security, and climate change. He continues to speak at local tech career events, as well as contribute articles to publications like Crunchbase and Black Enterprise.

His personal belief that anyone can live their dreams when they know their true value is why Ruben Harris’s profile is part of our Black Founders50 Series. Download the complete 2023 BBVA Founders50 list here.

BBVA envisions a vibrant Canadian technology ecosystem with significant participation from members of the Black community. We are on a mission to help establish 1000 successful, Black-led tech and tech-enabled businesses in Canada by 2030.

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