Meet Delane Parnell, CEO of $400 million PlayVS, esports most exciting startup.

Feb 2, 2022, 11:00 PM – Feb 3, 2022, 12:00 AM

From a gang-riddled Detroit neighborhood to leading a gaming empire at the center of the booming multibillion-dollar esports industry, Delane Parnell’s story to success is unlike any other. Meet Delane Parnell, CEO of $400 million PlayVS during our Black History Month kickoff and learn about his journey to the helm of one of esports most exciting startups.

Virtual event

About this event


Limited attendance, please secure admission ticket to receive the registration link.

  • Who: Delane Parnell, CEO of $400 million PlayVS
  • What: Fireside Chat
  • Where: Startup Grind Virtual (link will be emailed)
  • When: Wednesday February 2nd, from 6:00-7:00pm

We are proud to kick off Black History Month with Delane Parnell as our Fireside Chat esteemed guest.

About Delane Parnell

Delane Parnell is the Founder and CEO of PlayVS, the $400 million venture-backed startup building the infrastructure for high school esports. Prior to starting PlayVS, Delane worked at IncWell Venture Capital where he became the youngest black venture capitalist in The United States. Delane was then part of the early team at Rocket Fiber that raised $31M and focused on retail strategy directly with the CEO. While at Rocket Fiber, Delane founded Rush Esports, an esports team that was acquired by Team Solomid.

A lifelong entrepreneur, Delane started his first job at 13, working 40 plus hours a week during the school year. At 17, Delane used the money he saved to purchase three cell phone stores and joined the founding team of Executive Car Rental that now has 16 locations across Michigan.

In 2017, Delane was introduced to Science founders Peter Pham and Mike Jones, where they discovered a common interest in esports. After a few months of speaking with Science, Delane founded PlayVS. In April 2018, PlayVS announced their exclusive partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to collaborate on the national rollout of esports in high schools.

Fireside Chat Guest Host
Our fireside chat guest host will be Kevin Ryan, award-winning journalist who covers tech startups at Inc. magazine. His book, Ahead of the Game: The Unlikely Rise of a Detroit Kid Who Forever Changed the Esports Industry, which tells the story of Delane Parnell's improbable journey to becoming the founder and CEO of PlayVS, was published by HarperCollins Leadership in January 2022. Kevin has previously written for ESPN The Magazine, CNBC and Fast Company.

About the book.

Kevin J. Ryan wrote Ahead of the Game: The Unlikely Story of a Detroit Kid Who Forever Changed the Esports Industry (HarperCollins Leadership, January 25, 2022) about Delane Parnell which takes readers on the journey that built Parnell’s $400 million company, PlayVS. Ahead of the Game is more than the incredible story of Delane and the motley group of underdogs and hustlers that helped build his company.

Purchase the book and receive all the Stellar Member benefits at no extra cost: a personal recognition during the event and a 30 second pitching opportunity. Do not purchase the ticket before receiving the complimentary access code. Email the book purchase receipt to first. Book link:

About PlayVS

PlayVS (pronounced Play Versus) is the leading high school esports platform in North America and the only place where playing esports qualifies as varsity athletics. The company is the exclusive high school esports partner to the NFHS, Special Olympics, 26 state associations, Riot Games and Nintendo. Headquartered in Los Angeles, PlayVS has raised more than $107 million since its founding in January 2018.

Expected Event Takeaways:

  • Delane Parnell's entrepreneurship journey.
  • The launch and rise of PlayVS to dominate esports competition.
  • Delane Parnell's outlook on the industry and the rise of esports

Expected Book Takeaways:

  • Learn how the growing esports industry is changing the lives of students across the country who were previously not engaged in the high school experience.
  • Get a glimpse into a successful entrepreneur path unlike any other by following the story of how Delane Parnell created PlayVS in spite of the greatest of challenges.
  • Be inspired that there is hope and opportunity available to people who go against conventional paths to realize their dreams.

Delane Parnell in the news:

PlayVS in the news:

Check out what happened


  • Delane Parnell



  • Kevin Ryan

    INC Magazine



  • Miriam Dorsett



  • Marc Lissade

    Startup Broward

    Executive Director




February 2 – 3, 2022
11:00 PM – 12:00 AM UTC


Welcome & Networking
Fireside Chat
Audience Q&A
Final Announcements & Farewells


  • Marc Lissade

    Startup Grind

    Chapter Director

  • Jason Dukes

    Captains Chair Coaching


  • Eric Gaines

    Startup Grind


Global sponsor

Dell Technologies logo

Dell Technologies


Startup Broward logo

Startup Broward

Startup Digest South Florida logo

Startup Digest South Florida

Founders Boost South Florida logo

Founders Boost South Florida

Product Hunt South Florida logo

Product Hunt South Florida

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