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How high school esports giant PlayVS got funded – Source

By Kevin J. Ryan long Read

Amazon sent a jolt through the tech world in 2014 by announcing it was buying Twitch, the 3-year-old streaming platform that was becoming popular with gamers, for nearly $1 billion. At that time, Silicon Valley-based New Enterprise Associates (NEA) had grown to be one of the largest venture capital firms in the world on the back of investments in companies like Uber, BuzzFeed, Groupon, Coursera, 23andMe, and Cloudflare. Looking for the firm’s next big thing, NEA partners Rick Yang and Jon Sakoda set their sights on esports. As recounted in this excerpt from Kevin Ryan’s new book, Ahead of the Game: The Unlikely Rise of a Detroit Kid Who Forever Changed the Esports Industry, the two investors would find an answer in the unlikeliest of entrepreneurs.

Growing up as a star swimmer in the Dallas suburbs, Rick Yang had a bit of a secret life. Unbeknownst to most of his classmates—and his teammates—he would come home after practice, breeze through his…

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