Fast Company

MASTER OF THE GAMES

BY BRINGING E-SPORTS INTO HIGH SCHOOLS, PLAYVS FOUNDER DELANE PARNELL IS CREATING THE SCOUTING GROUNDS FOR NEW TECH TALENT.

Sporting a pair of black Jordan 11 Cap and Gowns that look like they were just unboxed and a dark baseball cap that casts a slight shadow over his baby-cheeked face, Delane Parnell fields questions from the audience at this September’s TechCrunch Disrupt, the annual San Francisco assembly that has become a startup kingmaker of sorts. He shares the stage with Jason Citron, founder and CEO of Discord, a messaging app for video gamers with more than 150 million users, and—after a $50 million fundraising round in April—a valuation of $1.65 billion. Parnell’s PlayVS (pronounced play versus), an e-sports platform for high schools, has raised just $15.5 million—and has yet to launch. But the 26-year-old Detroit native exudes confidence. “Investors are starting to realize that gaming is the next social paradigm,” says Parnell, answering a question about e-sports’ mainstream popularity. “And they want a piece of it.”

You don’t have to look far for evidence of gaming’s influence. It’s all over YouTube and Twitch in how-to videos and live-streamed sessions of FIFA 19 and Assassin’s Creed. A robust ecosystem of e-sports competitions is rising as well, with game publishers, entertainment

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from Fast Company

Fast Company3 min readTech
01.–02. For Pioneering Transactional Super Apps
In the first half of 2018, Meituan Dianping—a Chinese tech platform that expedites the booking and delivery of services such as food, hotel stays, and movie tickets— facilitated 27.7 billion transactions (worth $33.8 billion) for more than 350 millio
Fast Company2 min read
How To Manage Morries
All those myths about people born on Tuesday? Yeah, they’re pretty much true. So here’s how to handle this growing population.
Fast Company1 min read
03. For Giving Every Fan A Courtside Seat
In an age of distraction, the NBA holds people’s attention. Last year, the league broke attendance records for the fourth straight season; its streaming service grew subscribers by 63%; and total revenue increased 25%. One reason: the year-old NBA 2K