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 read
Idris Elba
I’m an only child, and growing up it was a constant challenge to entertain myself. I’ve been keeping busy my whole life: I’m primarily an actor, but I’ve been DJing since I was a teenager. I’m a producer and a director. I’ve done fashion collaboratio
Fast Company18 min read
Fatal Attraction
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WEWORK COFOUNDER Adam Neumann AND SOFTBANK CEO Masayoshi Son REVEALS DEEP FLAWS IN THE TECH WORLD’S QUEST TO SWALLOW THE GLOBAL ECONOMY.
Fast Company2 min readPsychology
Analog Solutions To Current Productivity Problems
CHALLENGE Being distracted by your phone Completing large long-term goals Controlling time spent on email Powering through the afternoon slump TECH SOLUTION You can put your phone on airplane mode, but that’s easily reversed, and it doesn’t sto