BMoE Bootcamp Feature: Victor Umunze, Turbla CEO & Co-Founder
Victor Umunze, recent Cal alumnus and Haas graduate (class of 2016), would never have seen himself growing in the Bay Area’s tech and start-up ecosystem.
When Umunze still attended Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria five years ago, he was on track to become a premed student. However, it didn’t take long for him to realize that medicine wasn’t something he was meant to do. It wasn’t until he met two guys– who had pitched the idea of creating and publishing a local college’s brochure– that he found his calling.
Umunze’s experience as a first time Nigerian start up team’s investor was unlike anything he had expected. He was completely involved and immersed in the team’s process of producing. He says that it was ultimately his excitement for the idea that propelled his drive to work across all fronts of the team’s development. “Even though I was only an investor, the team was really small and I ended up working as part of the team,” he said. Umunze collaborated with the UX/UI developers and sales workers, although it was really the recruitment of the businesses that “broke him into the world of entrepreneurship.”
Umunze decided to continue his entrepreneurial pursuit by going to university in the United States. “I wanted to be in a city for sure, because there would be better chances in getting a job,” he said.
Initially, Umunze attended St. Jone’s University in New York. However, he was only able to stay for 3 days until he moved to California and transferred to Lincoln University in Oakland. According to Umunze, this phase of academic instability was necessary to ensure that he could stay within the country. Although he wasn’t entirely sure about the concrete steps he had to make quite yet, it was necessary for him as an international student to remain enrolled as a college student. Fortunately, Umunze was able to refocus his path while earning his Associates Degree in Business Association in the College of Alameda before transferring into Haas’ undergraduate program.
Umunze, who was both an international and community college transfer student at Cal, found his path as an upcoming entrepreneur, and attributes his experience with the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship Bootcamp– which took place in January 2016– as one of the key events that have gotten him to where he is today.
Today, Umunze is currently working on his start up’s development alongside transitioning into his position as an Associate Product Marketing Manager at Google. His project, Turbla, is an upcoming, on-demand, high retail e-commerce platform that aims to work with boutiques and their digital market. Coincidentally, Turbla was the project Umunze was working on as he attended BMoE Bootcamp last winter. During the four and a half day immersive experience, he developed the idea along with his team. Umunze is glad that he was able to attend the bootcamp because it was where he got the experience to network and meet with people whose ideas and passion for entrepreneurship inspires his. Umunze looks forward to developing Turbla in San Francisco’s start up ecosystem.