Mentors & Teachers




Gigi Carunungan, co-Founder and Chief Learning Architect

Learning is life in action and mind in construction. If learning is frustrating, then students will not be motivated and resist learning. If the experience is fulfilling, then students will be excited to learn and grow passions towards their future careers.

In the past ten years I have been involved in founding and growing three progressive schools in the Bay Area—Synapse School, Imagination School, and Spark Charter. The successes of these schools inspired the founding of Young Outliers. Through these next generation learning environments, students have been transformed from passive, bored, and apathetic students to enthusiastic learners. They discover multiple ways of learning and experience daily fulfillment and enjoyment in how and what they learn. More importantly, these children have grown to value education because they witness the connections made to their everyday lives and how they have the daily opportunity to contribute in making a better world.  

I designed the Helical Model, a learning framework, inspired by a course for K-12 teachers, which I taught at the Digital Media Academy at Stanford. Influenced by neuroscience and how humans learn, the model provides teachers with a learning design that intuitively and creatively engages students in active learning, deeper understanding, and in cultivating their passions. My experiences as multimedia and education entrepreneur, theater artist, and digital media in learning connect with theories of connecting with learning styles, multiple intelligences, and Constructivist philosophy.

Thomas Varghese, Angel Investor and Entrepreneur is Co-Facilitator and Mentor

Thomas is a melomaniac, strategic investor, startup accelerator and entrepreneur with a unique combination of business and technical skills. Thomas serves on several private corporate boards including non-profits like BootUp Academy, San Francisco Classical Voice and Ventana School and is very active as a mentor and strategic angel investor, sharing his proven ability to set strategies and business models in rapidly emerging markets and create companies that are thought leaders and visionary. He has successfully grown companies from zero to profitability by recruiting key talents and providing vision and strategic direction. Most recently he was a Vice President at Oracle Corporation driving business, technology and product strategy. 

He is passionately involved in education and has helped launch and build companies like MasteryConnect, Novare Education and iSoccer to help parents and educators with tools to inspire students to become life-long, self-motivated learners. Furthering one’s knowledge and developing the skills needed throughout life, can enhance students’ understanding of the world around them, provide them with more opportunities and improve our quality of learning and living.

Thomas believes that students should be consistently challenged by project work centered around principles of Design Thinking and the investigation of Big Ideas. In today’s times, it’s important to identify struggles to provide learning opportunities that can meet students’ needs in order to stretch their potential and that honors each individual student in preparation for their future. This type of insightful analysis help further their knowledge and develop the needed skills but requires different tools and environments that a traditional school environment cannot offer.

Thomas is engaged with the Young Outliers team to help develop experiences that can enhance students’ understanding of the world around them, provide them with more opportunities and improve their quality of learning and living.


Steve Hsia, co-Founder and CEO

The Silicon Valley offers the world an energetic culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. This inspiring sense of building businesses to change the world is very different from traditional school experiences that breed conformity, fear and powerlessness. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are deemed as outliers because they are out-of-the-box thinkers, risk takers, and value creators.

As a parent, entrepreneur, business leader, and angel investor, Steve is no stranger to the Silicon Valley culture of innovation. For the past three years, Steve spent most of his days being actively involved in his children’s education, which revealed to him certain gaps in what was being taught in the classroom and what skills they would need to succeed.

Research has shown that there is no direct correlation between high test scores and career success. Steve firmly believes in the value of Young Outliers in preparing students for their future careers. He believes that passion, self-discipline, commitment, intellectual curiosity and hard work are what matters most for lifelong success and happiness.

Steve’s position on education stems from his three decades of business experiences and leadership. Prior to Young Outliers, he was a serial entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and CEO of AGENDA, one of the largest digital marketing agencies in Asia with presence throughout Asia-Pacific. AGENDA was an early adopter of innovative Internet technologies with advertising and marketing services to help large global brands market online. AGENDA was acquired by the world’s largest advertising and media conglomerate, WPP Group, in 2008.

Prior to AGENDA, Steve founded and built two enterprise software companies that were acquired by leading enterprise software companies in Silicon Valley. He is a very strong leader and proven business-building operator, with a history of building an unmatched company culture and management team.



We bring in the best industry experts to inspire, motivate, and mentor our camp teens. Our mentors dedicate their valuable time as our guest teachers to passionately teach what they know best, share their personal entrepreneurial experiences, and give back their decades of working knowledge to our next generation.

  • Kai Huang, Founder & CEO - RedOctane|Guitar Hero, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor 

  • Vinay Ramani, Head of International Growth - Uber, Inc.

  • Alberto Villarreal, Head of Design -Google Hardware

  • Thomas Varghese, Serial Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Board Advisor

  • Dr. Martin Griss, Campus Dean - Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley Campus

  • Ximena O’Reilly, Global Head of Design - Nestle S.A.

  • Sean Hsu, Senior Design Mechanical Engineer - Tesla Motors, Inc.

  • Grace Hwang, Associate Partner and Co-Leads - IDEO 

  • Sarah Mummah PhD, Human-Centered Design Researcher - IDEO

  • Mukul Agarwal, Founding  Managing Partner - BootUp Ventures

  • Eric Matson & Darren Luvaas, Co-founders - KarmaLaunch, Inc.

  • Amyel Oliveros, Creative Director - Waterfield Designs

  • Tom Chiu, Venture Partner - Enspire Capital, Board Member - Sand Hill Angels

  • Karl Holmqvist, Founder & CEO - Lastwall Networks

  • Geoff Seyon, Founder & CEO - Ixora Health

  • Vineet Gupta, VP Business Development - Acadine Technologies

  • Fangwei Lee, Founder - Realiteer Virtual Reality

  • Simon Ho, Founder & CEO - OnCare

  • Chris Strachan, VP of Acceleration - BootUp World

  • Ed Lucero, Founder & CEO - Tackable

  • Kuldip Pabla, CTO - Cooldimi

  • Philip Gust, CTO & Software Architect - Nouveau Systems & Stanford University


We invite the best and reputable industry leaders to guide, motivate, and judge our camp teens' startup projects. These accomplished industry veterans are our Dolphin Tank judges. Our Dolphin Tank pitch event is much less intimidating but just as real as the TV show Shark Tank. Our camp teens really get to experience the real deal on the viability of their startup ideas, business models, products, services, and product/market fit. Welcome to Dolphin Tank and buckle your seatbelt. It is intense and exciting!

  • Catherine Carlton, City Council, Ex-Mayor - City of Menlo Park

  • Caroline Tsay, GM & Chief Digital Officer - Hewlett Packard Enterprise

  • Chandini Ammineni, Co-Founder - Activity Hero, Inc., Partner - 500 Startups

  • Scott Saslow, Founder & CEO - Palo Alto Impact Center

  • Marco ten Vaanholt, Managing Partner - BootUp Ventures

  • Tina Ju, Managing Partner - Kleiner Perkins Caufield, Byers (KPCB)

  • Tuoc Luong, CEO - MeID, ex-SVP - Yahoo, Angel Investor, Board Advisor

  • Chris Haroun, Founder & CEO - Haroun Education Ventures

  • Mukul Agarwal, Founding  Managing Partner - BootUp Ventures

  • Ajay Ramachandran, Venture Partner - BootUp Capital

  • Christopher Nguyen, Co-founder & CEO - Arima, Inc.

  • Anshu Sharma, Venture Partner - Storm Ventures

  • Clarence Wooten, Serial Entrepreneur, Investor, Advisor

  • Jay Sethuram, Serial Tech Entrepreneur, VC Fund Partner, Industry Mentor

  • Abrar Hussain, Managing Director - Elixir Capital

  • Henry Ines, Venture Partner - Draper Dragon Fund

  • Elaine Leung, Co-founder & CEO - Adventa LLC

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