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Volume 25 No. 214
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49ers, Athletes Among Investors In Funding For Esports League PlayVS

L.A.-based high school esports league PlayVS has secured $15M in "investment in a Series A funding round that includes" the 49ers, Twitch co-Founder Kevin Lin, Chargers OT Russell Okung, Jets OT Kelvin Beachum and former NBAer Baron Davis, according to Jacob Wolf of ESPN.com. The funding round was led by Silicon Valley and DC-based VC firm New Enterprise Associates, which has "invested in a number of successful companies." Sources said that the "total valuation for PlayVS" was $50M. Other notable investors include: VC firms Science, CrossCut Ventures, Coatue Management and Cross Culture Ventures, as well as Dollar Shave Club Founder & CEO Michael Dubin, Pindrop Security co-Founder & Exec Chair Paul Judge and Anthony Saleh, the "manager for rappers Future and Nas." PlayVS Founder Delane Parnell's funding round is the "largest ever raised in the consumer internet industry by a black founder." For the 49ers, the organization's "interest in esports first began several years ago." PlayVS "presented a different opportunity" for the 49ers, "extending their reach into youth communities through means outside of football, community outreach and other educational endeavors that the team supports within their region" (ESPN.com, 6/4). TECHCRUNCH's Jordan Crook noted PlayVS in October will "launch its inaugural season, bringing organized esports to more than 18 states and approximately 5 million students across 5,000 high schools" (TECHCRUNCH.com, 6/4).