Cenfluence’s Cluster Members play an influential role in making Central Florida a new hub for technology and innovation that magnetizes global partnerships. By providing ample business resources and collaborative opportunities, our members are able to reach their fullest potential and ignite expansive economic opportunities in Central Florida. We interviewed a few of our members to learn more about their journeys and how they are reshaping our future.
Founder and CEO of 302 Interactive Kyle Morrand is a member of Cenfluence’s Gaming, Entertainment + eSports Cluster. He believes interactive technologies allow us to make entertaining and purpose-driven experiences, and is driven to bring creativity and technology together in new and exciting ways.
Read on for highlights from Morrand’s interview with us about 302 Interactive, his entrepreneurial journey and how he plans to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Tell me about your business. What inspired the idea?
302 Interactive is a digital experiences lab that focuses on developing and designing digital experiences in augmented and virtual reality. We make games and physical activations, as well. The idea grew from a desire to start a game studio, looking at how to make games from a non-traditional perspective and seeing how we could apply new technologies to make those games. I’m a big R&D guy. I love tinkering. So that was what got me started.
Can you tell me more? Are you currently in the process of developing any games?
Right now, we are primarily a service business. We take our game technology and game design skills, and apply them to try and save the world. We try to work with folks in hospitality or in health care and education, and try to help solve problems in their communities. That’s been our primary focus.
We’re just trying to be “experts of play.” We believe that play brings wellness into different areas and systems, so that’s our focus.
Has Florida’s innovation ecosystem supported your business growth?
I was born in Miami and grew up in South Florida. I came to UCF because I had a friend there from my high school. I came to visit him once and loved the campus. I really just love the idea of UCF as an engineering school, the talent and forward-thinking.
When I first started the company here in Orlando, It was just me. I was doing solo development work and interacting with the community here locally. Folks are really just starting to get involved with VR and AR. It is very collaborative; every project I have worked on has had no competition. People weren’t fighting with each other about anything. That’s always been my perspective of Orlando and the local area. It’s just this open, collaborative community of folks who are trying to help each other and trying to advance not only technology, but the ways that technology is being applied.
Can you share more about your involvement with Cenfluence and how it has impacted your business?
I’ve been doing community engagements since starting 302 Interactive. Early on, I met Jack Henkel, who was involved with Indienomicon. He was a key to Indienomicon’s success for the indie game community in Orlando. When Jack reached out about Cenfluence, I was stoked. He didn’t really have to tell me much else because I just love Jack and the way that he influences the community. From our perspective, as a company, it feels really catered to us.
What’s your advice for other entrepreneurs?
Take your time. As I mentioned, I started 302 Interactive when I was 21. I was still in school. It started as a part-time job, then a full-time job, and then a full-time job and a contract. I was just never in a rush about it. I always maintained it in its current state as effectively as I could and I remained diligent. Every week, I made a little bit of progress and, eventually, something stuck. I think for a lot of folks, entrepreneurship seems like this thing you’ve got to rush. That it’s something you have to go crazy and big for; that you have to go for broke, and that’s not the case. Just take your time with it and build what you want to build, and try to compound little by little and it will get there over time.
What advice would you share with black entrepreneurs who may be just starting out?
Don’t feel like you’re going to be held back in any way, especially here in Orlando, and in Florida. You’re going to have to work hard. You’re going to have to push forward just like anybody else, but you don’t need to feel like you’re going to be put in a position where you’re held back in any way. The other piece of advice is to make sure that when you are working hard and pushing forward, provide yourself with that diversity outside of yourself and outside of your community, as well. One of my best friends is Cuban and one of my other best friends is Asian. And having all that diversity around you, it gives you all this worldly perspective that is hard to have in just one community. And that goes for anybody in any community.
Why do you love your job?
From a programming perspective, I got into games because I really liked creativity. But when I first got into it, I ended up meeting a lot of really passionate people who wanted to be game designers and artists and developers. Those are the folks who inspired me to start the company and push things forward, and figure out this organization that can provide creative stability. My favorite part of the job is working with creative folks and helping bring their ideas to life.