About Us

Mentava allows top-performing students to achieve their potential. Our mission is to give options to kids whose learning needs are not being met by their school.

Gifted kids are dramatically underserved by today’s education system. Education policy heavily focuses on getting struggling students up to par, but isn’t concerned with whether high performers are achieving their potential. And the problem is getting worse: California’s DOE says no algebra for 8th graders, Virginia eliminates accelerated math before 11th grade, NYC competitive admissions switching to random lottery.

At Mentava, we believe that every child deserves to be challenged. Every child deserves to learn something new, every day.


Mentava was created to allow top-performing students to achieve their potential. We support kids who will become the brilliant scientists who end pandemics and cure cancer, the political leaders who resolve intractable conflicts, and the innovators who solve resource shortages and send humans beyond the solar system.

Education creates pathways to success for kids of every socioeconomic class. When we encourage learning and achievement, we improve our society and our communities.

Who we are

Niels Hoven


Niels Hoven is the founder of Mentava and remains the primary instructor. He has spent over a decade working at the world’s top tech companies and has three kids of his own.

Since elementary school, Niels has appreciated the accelerated coursework he was lucky enough to benefit from. Niels spent 4 years in elementary school learning math through independent study, which prepared him for formal computer science classes in 7th grade and AP Calculus in 8th grade. He received a perfect score on the SAT and earned over a year’s worth of college credit from AP tests, several of which were self-taught.

Niels has remained passionate about education throughout his professional career, which has included time spent teaching and at an edtech startup. He believes that all kids should have the opportunity to challenge themselves at school.