From students to founders

How Juni was born from our own story

Juni co-founders Ruby and Vivian smile while sitting next to each other as partners.

Our Mission

To empower kids to discover their best futures by providing expert mentorship, strong community, and a joyful learning experience.

Meet our co-founders

  • Vivian Shen

    Juni CEO & Co-Founder

    Stanford B.S. in Computer Science, Creative Writing Minor

    Vivian’s experience ranges from Fortune 500 companies to startup teams. She was Director of Product at Operator for US and China, a software engineer at Google, and a consultant for high-growth tech companies at McKinsey & Company’s Silicon Valley office. She’s also been featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Fast Company, TechCrunch, and Fortune.

    I’m from Palo Alto, but I hadn’t really coded until college... the computer science class in my high school only had one time slot and felt inaccessible. Most people taking the course had previous experience, and were boys.

  • Ruby Lee

    Juni CTO & Co-Founder

    Stanford M.S. in Computer Science, B.S. in Bioengineering

    Ruby has always held a lifelong passion for technology and education. Before co-founding Juni, she was an investor and Product Partner at Kleiner Perkins, and an Associate Product Manager at Google, where she worked on the Chrome browser and later helped launch Project Fi, Google's wireless carrier service.

    I loved building things on the computer... I remember tinkering a lot with websites, and trying to decipher books I’d checked out from the library. I later found out my school didn’t offer coding, and had to find a way to learn it myself online.

  • Why We Founded Juni

    Juni founders stand smiling behind the YCombinator sign, after attending their accelerator program.

    In 2017 in San Francisco, we (Vivian and Ruby) founded Juni to be the educational opportunity we wished we had back when we were students.

    Our story begins with two young girls excited by their newfound passions. Raised on the East Coast, Ruby stumbled upon coding at age 11 as part of her obsession with making websites for her Neopets (a virtual pet game). From there on, she was hooked—and tried to learn everything she could through books! Silicon Valley native Vivian, on the other hand, was excited by entrepreneurship and nonprofits.

    But it wasn’t always easy to pursue that curiosity. Ruby’s high school didn’t offer computer science, so she had find ways to self-learn it online. Unsurprisingly, business and nonprofit work also weren’t subjects offered at Vivian’s school. And when she wanted to try the limited coding classes her school did have, she was intimidated by the shortage of beginners and girls in the class.

    This story is far too common for many kids around the world, even today. Kids come with an amazing curiosity or desire to learn, but are discouraged by traditional “right versus wrong” teaching, low diversity, or the lack of options. Or, they just never get exposure to subjects outside of school to begin with.

    We built Juni to make sure these kids’ passions never stop burning. We believe that when kids have access to the right kind of support, learning styles, and peer community, it can change lives. And changing kids’ lives everywhere through learning continues to be our mission today.

  • Why Juni Works

    One of Juni’s founders sits in bed, while working hard sorting notes from her business plan for Juni.

    As students, there were times we felt that learning was an uphill battle. But even in our experiences as two very different people, we both remember the same three core things that kept us going: caring mentors, strong support from friends, and understanding teachers that saw us as unique individuals.

    Juni works because it’s modeled after those three key pillars. Juni Instructors are that mentor—the role model that guides, but also the friend and teammate that cheers you on through your challenges. The Juni Community is that tight-knit group of friends and like-minded peers for inspiration and collaboration. And our dynamic platform and curriculum are shaped after those teachers that empowered us to stay curious, be creative, and drive our own lessons.

    Our own experiences, as well as the inspiring stories from countless Juni students give us confidence in Juni’s approach. Today, we’re both ex-Google employees, and founders of our own Silicon Valley tech company—these were our dreams, but they don’t have to be yours. We believe that joyful learning will empower kids everywhere to discover, and then achieve whatever future they can dream of.

Our Investors

  • Y Combinator
  • Ame Cloud Ventures
  • Forerunner
  • Pear
  • Index Ventures

I love working with students and watching them grow!

I’ve been teaching one of my students twice a week for over a year and a half - we’ve had over 123 sessions together. In that time, he has gone from not knowing a thing about computer science, to having a better grasp of advanced concepts than most of my peers in college!

George O., Juni instructor

Juni Instructor, UCLA

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