Meet Rupert Meghnot
An entrepreneur and mentor to many, Rupert Meghnot has been involved around technology and innovation in Orlando since 1990. A connoisseur of the arts around town, one of his favorite spots is The Timucua Arts Foundation. He is the CXO of Burnout Game Ventures, an Advisory Board Member of Orlando Entrepreneurs & IDEAS For Us. He’s a Mentor at Starter Studio and the Co-Organizer of 1 Million Cups in Orlando.
Defining The Orlando Life
Coming from Detroit
Before moving to Orlando in 1986 to attend Rollins College for his MBA, Rupert had already started and sold businesses in Detroit, where he grew up.
By 1990 he was drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit found in Orlando and the amount of technology around the area. As a project management consultant at Martin Marietta (now known as Lockheed Martin), he had the pleasure of working on technology projects people only dream about.
Rupert’s Startup in Orlando
Rupert Meghnot’s first startup in Orlando was Video-Snap®, where he patented a consumer electronic item that held remote controls such as your TV and VCR together. If you lost your remote, all you had to do was clap and the item would beep.
Everything was all set from the designed circuit boards, injection tooling and marketing. He even completed a large and successful market test, but unfortunately the recession of 1992 happened and his investor pulled the rug out from underneath him.
With around $250,000 in debt and no income, Rupert faced a struggle that would drag on for a couple years. He found himself working as a bathroom valet at a men’s club but still found his way to stay connected to the entrepreneurial community with a Florida Venture Group and the Central Florida Council for High Technology.
During this time, his friends began consoling him. They recognized his accomplishments in the past with raising capital and putting together business plans. They turned to him and asked if he could do the same for them. Seeing the opportunity, he jumped in and went to work. Within three years he was debt free, including his new house.
This business went on for 9 years in which he worked with a couple hundred companies doing projects like high speed rails, an evacuated tube transport (Elon Musk was a Junior in college during this time) and many others.
Stepping into Orlando’s Big Simulation Industry
Rupert’s next step was into Simulation, an industry that is currently bringing in $6 billion a year to Orlando. During this time he worked with an engineer to develop and patent an idea he had for an electromechanical motion simulation technology. He worked in the industry for 11 years, 8 of which he worked as a DOD Prime Contractor.
During these 11 years he backed out of Orlando’s entrepreneurial community to focus on his company but did work at UCF teaching Entertainment Technology for the new Rosen College.
Changing things up in 2007, Rupert started a construction business doing high-end ornamental metal for clients such as professional athletes, Disney, Plaza Hotel in NY, and others. Over the course of the next 5 years he doubled his income with the business each year, even through the Great Recession.
During this time (2008), Full Sail University was starting a Game Design Masters Degree Program and asked Rupert to join them. With his backgound in VR (since ’92) and games (since ’96) they looked to him to teach project management. He would do this for the next 6 years.
Helping Entrepreneurs Plan
In 2014 he began to see that entrepreneurs were having a dismal rate of success, specifically Indie Developers not affiliated with the big studios.
“Indie Developers have a 95% failure rate to break even. Where is the growth in this $120 billion industry going to come from if the majority of the people aren’t participating?” One of the areas creatives fail at most is in project management. Many don’t realize that effective project management is the key to releasing their full creativity.
Taking his experience from over the years he decided to build something new. With his desire to challenge the status quo, he started Burnout Game Ventures in March of 2014.
Burnout Game Ventures
Burnout Game Ventures works with entrepreneurs in the gaming industry, helping them navigate their path to success while providing the necessary resources. They currently have over 500 people in their talent pool and fluctuate between 50-75 people actively working on 10 projects from 5 different startups. Their goal is to help create 50 sustainable companies in Central Florida with high-paying jobs.
Working with multiple incubators and shared space communities around town, Rupert sees the gaming community in Orlando as quite vibrant with even a bigger future.
Continuing to Influence
With all his contributions and efforts Rupert Meghnot continues to influence the culture of the entrepreneurs who are choosing to live The Orlando Life . He has helped numerous students and leaders go on to lead excellent careers and businesses managing billions of dollars in game IP.