After graduating from TED Ankara College Foundation Private High-School in 1999, Tolga studied Statistics and Computer Science at Baskent University. During his college years, Tolga was the team captain of “Baskent KNIGHTS”; one of the first Turkish National Football League teams. Tolga was also a co-founding member of the Turkish Amateur American Football Federation which was adopted by the Ministry of Sports of the Turkish Government in 2006.
Tolga worked at CE Technology in Ankara and started his professional career in digital technologies. He mainly worked on the branding & digital presentations of governmental projects while working in his hometown. In 2005, Tolga moved to San Diego to receive a post-graduate diploma in Interactive Media Design & Animation and he played college football as one of the first Turkish athletes at Palomar College.
In 2007, Tolga was recruited by Spin Master Studios in Los Angeles. As the 6th hire of the Spin Master Studios, he led the entire company's digital design initiatives and he co-designed “Tech Deck Live” - one of the first browser based 3D MMO games. Currently, Spin Master is the largest global kid's entertainment company based in Canada. After 4 years of gaining experience at Spin Master, Tolga designed and directed the development of dozens of digital applications, games, and marketing campaigns for brands like Ford, Google, Spotify, MTV™, Cinemax, Warner Records, Disney, and Marriott Hotels while leading the interactive teams of Sabertooth and HYFN. His campaign creations for Ford Mustang led him to win the "Digital Advertisement of the Year 2011" title by Yahoo.com.
Having already worked with multiple top-notch digital agencies, Tolga moved onto mastering his marketing skills as the Head of Global User acquisitions initiative at Electronic Arts where he created the promotional campaigns of Battlefield™, Sims™, NBA Live™, Need For Speed™, Real Racing™, Fifa Soccer™, Madden NFL™, Tetris™ and Simpson’s Tapped Out™. Tolga Onuk also designed the EA Mobile's consumer-facing brand in 2012.
In 2013, Tolga started his entrepreneurial journey and co-founded Curbstand. He became the company's Chief Product Officer in a partnership deal with the Nclusive Venture Studio. Tolga designed Curbstand’s brand and the cross-device payments platform which emerged as the first SaaS solution for the valet & parking companies. Curbstand received $1.1 Million investment immediately after the AppStore launch. While building Curbstand, Tolga established Thunderbolt Studios headquarters in Beverly Hills. Later on, Curbstand expanded into the 8 most populated cities in the United States, parked 1 million cars, and the company raised $6.9 Million total investments from angel investors & VC firms.
In 2014, Tolga Onuk became the Chief Product Officer of California’s first legally approved Cannabis On-Demand Delivery startup “Grassp”, and Thunderbolt built an extensive cross-device SaaS platform. Similar to Curbstand, Grassp received $1.5 Million investment shortly after the beta version release. Today, both Curbstand and Grassp are operational private companies based in Southern California.
Thunderbolt worked with 40+ startups, built many MVP applications and the company helped to raise $8.5 Million combined startup investments. Thunderbolt also built web & mobile applications for global brands like Beats By Dre, Verizon Wireless, and Alaska Airlines. As a leading digital product development company, Thunderbolt Studios hosted several technology events in the Greater Los Angeles area.
In 2018, Tolga Onuk launched an equity-crowdfunding platform called Thunderbolt CDG with an intention to raise capital for digital startups & mobile games. Thunderbolt CDG got acquired by the Toronto-based New Wave Holdings (Formerly known as New Wave Esports). After the acquisition of his company, Tolga Onuk was appointed as the Managing Partner & Chief Executive Officer of New Wave Holdings and he continued working on Thunderbolt CDG.
As a gaming and technology industry veteran, he kickstarted a new acquisition strategy for New Wave and the company made multiple investments into various technology and eSports startups. Under Tolga’s leadership New Wave started a reverse merger and became a publicly traded company at the Canadian Stock Exchange in October 2019. After the 2020 pandemic, New Wave Holdings started investing in other emerging industries.
Currently, Tolga Onuk is an early investor of several companies including New Wave Holdings (CSE:SPOR) and Mullen Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ:MULN), and he is working towards promoting sustainable energy projects in the e-mobility sector as the Vice President of Product Development at Envoy Mobility. The product that Tolga designed in a joint project at Envoy, was acquired on April 2023 by Blink Charging (NASDAQ:BLNK). In his previous role, Tolga was in the leadership team of Loop EV Charging Network.
Tolga Onuk continues to play semi-professional football as a part of Long Beach-based Beach City Giants football team and he also represents the Turkish National American Football League in the USA.
Tolga Onuk resides in Playa Vista, California.
2017 | Beverly Hills, CA | Founder & CEO
Acquired by New Wave Holdings
2014 | San Diego, CA | Chief Product Officer (Founding Team)
2013 | Beverly Hills, CA | Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer
Founded by the members of 5 university teams in 2001, the Turkish (American) Football League grew into multiple divisions with dozens of teams and the organization was adopted by the Ministry of Sports of the Turkish Government. Currently Turkish Football players are competing in the European League of Football (ELF) and the licensed American Football athletes form one of the largest sports communities in the nation.
Tolga Onuk is a co-founding team member of the Turkish Amateur Football Federation and he is an international advisor of the president of the Turkish Rugby Federation, Murat Pazan.