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HomeHacking & Cyber-CrimeFrom Juvenile Delinquent Hacker To Google Ventures-Backed …

From Juvenile Delinquent Hacker To Google Ventures-Backed …


Kunal Agarwal is on the top of his game. As CEO of, he led his company out of stealth mode in September 2022 to his latest funding round led by Google Ventures.

But there was a time when it seemed he wouldn’t even graduate from high school, much less college. He was handcuffed, expelled from school, and faced the possibility of being sent to a juvenile detention facility for hacking into his high school’s grade management system.

Agarwal attributes his early miscreant hacking deeds to wanting to be one of the cool kids. His family came from very humble beginnings and indulgences like seeing the latest Harry Potter movie when it first came out, or playing the latest Nintendo Game Boy games, were out of financial reach. Motivated by a desire to keep up with his classmates any way he could, Agarwal began modifying games to give him an advantage, and moved on to pirating games and movies. Fueled by curiosity and the thrill of a challenge, this eventually led to him hack into his high school’s grade and assignment software, which he detailed in a blog post some time afterward.

“This was just one of hundreds of things that I’d done,” Agarwal said. “This is the one I got caught for.” The irony was that he was largely an A student and had no need to hack the system to alter his grades. But by hacking the system, experienced a high that made him feel closer to becoming one of the cool kids.

The aftermath impacted his relationship with his teachers and counselors - “when a teacher, someone you have this insane amount of appreciation for, comes to you and says, ‘hey, I just don’t want you in my class,’ it’s really hard,” Agarwal said. “But, then there were the kind ones, like my physics teacher Mr. Lubbs, who taught me, ‘It’s tough, but it could always be worse. Now, how are you going beat it?’ And, to this day, that’s how I just get through things.’”

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