Orrick Advises Esports Startup PlayVs in Groundbreaking Series A Financing


An Orrick team advised PlayVs, a startup building the online and offline infrastructure for high school esports, on a $15 million Series A funding round announced today by the Santa Monica-based company. With PlayVs led by founder Delane Parnell, the transaction is the largest Series A raised by a black founder in the consumer internet industry.

The funding round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from Science, CrossCut Ventures, Cross Vulture Ventures and funds affiliated with the San Francisco 49ers. The venture has backing from numerous high-profile investors, including Michael Dubin, founder of the Dollar Shave Club; Kevin Lin, co-founder of Twitch; and current and former professional athletes such as former NFL star Russell Okung and NBA star Baron Davis.

PlayVs’ announcement of the Series A comes two months after reaching an exclusive partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations, which governs and writes the rules of competition for high school sports nationwide. PlayVs’ inaugural season is expected to start in October in at least 18 states, and the venture has already attracted widespread media attention ranging from Business Insider to ESPN.

The Series A is the company’s first round of equity financing. Parnell, who is 25 years old, expressed pride in breaking the record as the largest Series A ever raised by a black founder in the consumer internet industry, and the third largest for a black founder across all industries.

The Orrick Technology Companies Group team was led by Josh Pollick, a partner in our Santa Monica office, and included Donna Salcedo, Ramin Tohidi, Alex Hendricks and Bella Gelin.