Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Avetian.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born in Georgia (the country not the state) when it was a part of the Soviet Union and I’m ethnically Armenian. So my fun fact about myself is that I was born in a country that no longer exists. My family and I came to the US in the late 90s and settled in Los Angeles. Growing up in a super ethnic community was so fun because I had access to all the food I am used to and I could maintain all of my native languages. The drawback is that such a community becomes a bubble and it’s hard to expand your horizon. Plus, I did not grow up with a lot of money so I started working at the age of 15 and never really stopped.
I attended Cal State LA while working full time and graduated with a BA in Economics. In 2011, I was accepted to Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, AZ and moved to attend the MBA program. That was such an amazing experience because it gave me the chance to travel the world and step outside my home bubble. I lived in Prague for six months, studied in New York and worked on a consulting project in Jakarta. Plus, I met brilliant individuals that expanding my worldview.
After Thunderbird, I came back to LA and started to work for a startup and in 2014, I met my now husband, Sam. Early on, we started discussing the possibility of moving out of LA and began trying to find a place we both liked. Since both of us hate the cold, that cut out pretty much 60% of the country. We visited Austin in 2016 and loved it! So in 2017, I received an offer with an Austin-based company and we moved. We’ve loved it ever since!
As soon as we moved, Sam started talking about an idea of using a technology he saw in Australia to create a new outdoor gaming experience and take laser tag to the 21st century. Using Infrared guns with a software that allows us to program the guns to function as whatever we want and the ability to change gun functionality during gameplay. Basically, create Call of Duty in real life. That is how Battleground Ranch was born. We purchased land in Dec 2019 and began the work. Obviously, COVID hit in March 2020 and slowed down our progress, but we pushed through and opened in October 2020. Since we are an outdoor facility, we had less restrictions to worry about.
Both Sam and I maintain our full-time day jobs and so it’s been a crazy juggling act to make sure we are on top of everything. I am currently a Senior Product Manager with a start-up in Austin, Sam and I both run Battleground Ranch, plus I am a partner in Himk Capital, a newly formed VC that invests in start-ups in Armenia and by Armenian lead entrepreneurs. So basically, I don’t like sleep and have to manage my day down to the minute. But despite all of this, I am an avid traveler and it’s my biggest stress release.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has been a crazy road to get to today with my life and Battleground Ranch. The general challenges of the immigrant experience and learning on the fly. But I’ve enjoyed every minute and it’s all helped me get to today.
The story of Battleground Ranch is a saga. We bought the land in Dec 2019 and it was in pretty rough shape. We needed to do major clearing of the playfield, remodel the mobile home on property into the office, demolish an old barn, run electrical and water onto the property and so much more.
Then the world ended in March 2020 and it became a total struggle to get all the paperwork done with the Country. We put in a request to approve our septic system plans in April 2020 and it took until Sept to get approved. We dealt with crazy challenges from March to October 2020. Bad contractors that disappeared on us, water pipe ruptures, snakes, septic delays, labor shortages, you name it, we had to deal with it. At one point, we had to run an electrical line across a petroleum pipeline, and the pipeline company came out to watch us dig because, and I quote, “if you rupture the pipeline, we’ll blow up half of Austin”! As a side note, peeing in the bushes for six months because we didn’t have a septic system yet was NOT COOL – I didn’t even have to deal with that in Soviet Georgia! Finally, we were able to hold our Beta test in September 2020 and we officially opened in October 2020.
The last year has been an interesting challenge, bringing a brand new product to the market and educating the public has been harder than I expected. Since we are not laser tag or paintball or airsoft the question is how do we explain what we do? When you say Laser Tag (closest thing to IR Combat) the image most people have in their mind is a seven years old birthday party in an arcade. Small dark room blasting royalty-free techno music, inaccurate guns, bulky vests and in 15 minutes it’s all over. So changing the public’s perception has been the biggest struggle, but everyone that experienced Battleground Ranch has been impressed with the video game like experience and a totally different gameplay they were not expecting. I think our reviews speak for themselves.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Battleground Ranch is an IR Combat arena that recreates first-person shooter video games in real life. Imagine playing Call of Duty in real life complete with weapon upgrades, perks, and ammo drops. We utilize Infrared technology that allows Battleground Ranch to run games on 5 acres day and night with guns that are accurate up to 700 ft. Some gameplay examples are Battle Royale, Domination, Search & Destroy and Gun Game. Battleground Ranch is reinventing laser tag and bringing it to the 21st century. Players can select their Class which will determine their standard weapon carry, carry multiple weapons on them at once and switch between them. Anything players are used to doing in FPS games we can recreate at Battleground Ranch.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
How much customization we can do with the guns and technology. Most of our game modes are pretty standard so they are fun for the general public but we can get as hardcore as we want. For advanced gamers, we can enable Friendly Fire, we can create custom characters/classes and enable specific era modes like WW2 and only allow for those types of weapons to be used. As we grow, I hope to have a large enough fan base that we can launch “Advanced” game modes to bring back players who would want to play more complex games.
- Standard Game – $29.99/player
- Group Discount for Standard Game (12+ players) – $24.99/player
- One one Private Game (min 12 players) – $25/player
- Two hour Custom Private Event (Up to 20 players) – $1,100
- Two hour Custom Private Event (Up to 30 players) – $1,500
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.battlegroundranch.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/battleground_ranch/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BattlegroundRanch
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/battleground-ranch-del-valle