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High school esports startup secures $15 million in funding

PlayVS, A high school esports startup has raised $15 million to help introduce esports programs across the United States.

The investments were gained in a Series A funding round led by New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm with interests in technology and healthcare.

New Enterprise Associates managed to gain investments from American rapper Nas, the San Francisco 49ers, NBA All-Star Baron Davis, Twitch COO Kevin Lin and New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum.

PlayVS will introduce esports programs to 5,000 high schools across 20 states, with the participating schools and esports titles to be announced in July.

More than five million students will be involved in the programs and PlayVS founder and CEO Delane Parnell said in a statement, “Now, with our Series A, we can take all the steps necessary to ensure that our inaugural season is a massive success while being affordable for schools, parents and students across the country.”

PlayVS has recently partnered with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) with the inaugural esports seasons to begin in October of this year.

“Our exclusive partnership with the NFHS and NFHS Network was the first step toward creating a league system that will impact millions of kids’ lives in an extremely positive way,” Parnell said.

PlayVS will be accommodating three genres of esports titles; Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBAs), fighting games and sports games.

“PlayVS is uniquely positioned to organize high school esports in a clear and constructive way, shepherding more esports stars to the main stage through career-driven options,” said Twitch co-founder and COO Kevin Lin.

For Parnell, esports programs are not only about the universities and the esports industry, but more so the players themselves.

“Esports is about more than just playing games—it can be used to help students grow their STEM interests and develop valuable life skills and since there are more high school gamers than athletes, it’s about time we foster this pastime in an educational setting,” said Parnell.