The startup is planning to use the investments to expand and develop its esports infrastructure.
PlayVS will introduce esports programs to 5,000 high schools and five million students, with the participating schools and esports titles to be announced in July. PlayVS will be accommodating three genres of esports titles—MOBAs, fighting games, and sports games.
“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,” said PlayVS founder and CEO Delane Parnell in a statement.
The startup’s $15 million Series A funding round is now also the largest ever amount to be raised by a black founder in the consumer internet industry.
“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,” added the 25-year old Parnell.
Collegiate esports tournaments and programs have become increasingly popular across the United States recently, with companies and teams sponsoring collegiate teams and universities even offering scholarship programs for esports athletes.
“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.