Victor S. Nunnemaker | From a Traumatic Upbringing to Financial Freedom [Top UC Santa Barbara Entrepreneur Series]
Victor S. Nunnemaker
Smart Business Revolution

Victor Nunnemaker is a serial entrepreneur, investor, mentor, coach and board member. Most recently, Victor became an apple farmer after he purchased an apple farm in California’s wine country. Victor overcame an extremely traumatic childhood in poverty and an abusive home. However, in spite of this very difficult upbringing, he went on to become the only person in his family to get both a college and graduate degree. 

Victor ran track and worked three jobs to pay for college. He went on to take multiple companies public and worked as a CFO before founding his own companies, which he was able to scale up and sell. Victor loves spending time with his kids, learning how to graft trees, making cider, and tending to his apple farm in Northern California.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Victor Nunnemaker, a serial entrepreneur, about his story of rising above adversity to become a successful business owner. Victor talks about his experience studying in Germany and Switzerland, his love for education and investments, and why he went into entrepreneurship. Stay tuned.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Victor Nunnemaker’s rough childhood and how he ended up staying in a home with 9 other children
  • The point Victor decided to get financial education, how he got to study in Germany and go to college, and how that impacted his life
  • Why Victor decided to go into entrepreneurship and the different companies he worked for
  • How Victor teaches his kids (and others) about overcoming adversity and making an impact
  • The role Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) has played in Victor’s life
  • Victor’s thoughts on rising out of poverty to become successful
  • The peers Victor respects and those who have had a big impact on his career
  • What are the benefits of investing and learning about finances?
  • Where to learn more and connect with Victor Nunnemaker

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

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Rise25 was co-founded by Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran who have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:14

Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

I welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. You know, I feel so privileged I get to talk with so many interesting CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, all kinds of different companies and organizations. Go look back at my archives. We got founders and CEOs and executives from YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, Open Table, you name it. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25. And before I introduce today’s guests, I just want to give a quick shout out to David Sullivan and Dave Richmond. Both of them recommended today’s guest, and I also saw him speak and I was blown away. My guest is Victor Nunnemaker. He is a serial entrepreneur, investor, mentor, and coach and board member and most recently, an apple farmer after he was able to purchase an apple farm in California’s wine country. So we’ll hear maybe a bit about that. 

But perhaps the most amazing about Victor is he overcame an extremely traumatic childhood in poverty, as you will hear in a moment. He grew up in an abusive home, when he was six years old, his father killed his mother. And in spite of this very difficult upbringing, he went on to become one of the only ones in his family to get a college degree and the only one to get a graduate degree. He ran track and worked three jobs to pay for college living at the local zoo. We’ll hear about that as well. And he went on to take multiple companies public as a CFO before founding his own companies, which was able to scale up and sell as well. He’s an inspiration and an example for anyone who comes from a rough upbringing. His story is extraordinary and remarkable, in part because of the rough hand that has dealt in life, and the way in which he rose above it all, and now gives back. So I’m excited to have him. And Victor, you know, it’s so generous of you to share your story today. And I’ve seen you speak as well, to share your story as well. Let’s start with your childhood. So this is before you were growing up with family members after the tragedy, and you had nine brothers and sisters that we’re going to get to that later. But you grew up in a very rough upbringing.

Victor Nunnemaker 2:54

Yeah, thanks. Thanks for having me, John. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here. Everybody has to play with the cards that they’re dealt. And certainly, the beginning of my life is not one I’d wish on anyone. But I’ve been very, very fortunate and had a lot of mentors and help along the way to get out of that. But it was certainly a challenge at that age. It’s hard to see that things like that happen in your life, it’s hard to be in a boy’s home while courts lore on and people fight over where you’re going to go and live. And it’s hard to grow up poor when you don’t have the opportunity to get a financial education where you don’t where you are not encouraged to go off to school and get a higher education. It’s pounded into you and at a very young age you get a job period starting at age 12. And that was just and that was after growing up going wood cutting many Saturdays to get wood to both heat the house because we didn’t have central heating and to sell the remainder to help the family as well as you know hunting fishing abalone diving in order to have protein in the refrigerator to eat so you know on one hand, it was a luxury most people would kill for to have abalone or salmon. On the other hand you went and got it yourself because the first time, I remember the first time I had a steak was when I was an exchange student in Germany when I was 16 years old. So you just didn’t have that luxury.

John Corcoran 4:41

When you were six when your mother died? Yes, but you have memories before that.

Victor Nunnemaker 4:52

Yeah. As is often the case, the hardest memories of your life are the ones that are seared into your brain and as Have you heard me? recount? You know, probably the most poignant memory in my, in my head is at the age of whatever it was five and a half or six years old, waking up in the middle of the night to my mother crying and walking down a long hall and down the steps into the living room where there was a big black bear rug, and my father was standing over my mother and clearly had been hitting her and I ran to her and he yelled, go back to bed or you’re next and he hit me across the room, I ended up in a hospital and wasn’t too long after that, that he murdered my mom. And, and, and that sort of started my life trajectory. So I wish I could say that I had great memories of my childhood before that. I don’t and some would argue maybe I blocked some of them out on purpose. You know, it was not an uncommon occurrence. And it was as you put it up use of childhood.