Ann Hand, Nate Nanzer, Delane Parnell and Tobias Sherman Announced as First 2019 SXSW Gaming Featured Speakers

SXSW Gaming Featured Speakers Ann Hand, Nate Nanzer, Delane Parnell, and Tobias Sherman

Esports will once again be in the spotlight at SXSW Gaming 2019 as we’re pleased to announce our first batch of Featured Speakers for next March’s event. Ann Hand (CEO of Super League Gaming), Nate Nanzer (Commissioner of the Overwatch League, returning to SXSW Gaming for a second year), Delane Parnell (CEO of PlayVS), and Tobias Sherman (Founder and CEO of FOUNDRY IV) all join the 2019 Featured Speaker lineup at SXSW Gaming.

These Featured Speakers highlight the growth of the esports into all areas of gamers’ lives. From top tier pro esports like the Overwatch League and PlayVS helping to solidify esports at the high school level, to Super League Gaming making movie theaters venues for competitive gaming and FOUNDRY IV taking esports to casinos and beyond, the first batch of SXSW Gaming Featured Speakers showcase the broad reach of esports in the present — and how much further the industry can go in the future.

We are pleased to have these industry leaders launch a stellar lineup of Featured Speakers at SXSW Gaming 2019. Featured Sessions at SXSW Gaming are open to all SXSW badgeholders along with SXSW Gaming wristbands. You can purchase your 3-Day or single day SXSW Gaming Wristband today.

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Ann Hand (CEO, Super League Gaming)

As CEO and Chairman of Super League Gaming, Ann drives the vision of the leading platform for amateur esports. Super League Gaming’s 16-city North American league along with compelling online experiences and membership programs is a unifying lifestyle destination for local, competitive gaming. Prior to Super League Gaming, Ann served as CEO of Project Frog, a venture-backed firm whose mission is to democratize environmentally conscious buildings. From 1998 through 2008, Ann served in a variety of senior executive positions with BP plc. Ann has garnered industry recognition, including “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs” by Goldman Sachs, “Top 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs” by Fortune, “100 Most Creative People” by Fast Company, and “40 under 40” by Advertising Age. Ann earned a BA in Economics from DePauw University and a MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management along with executive education at Cambridge, Harvard and Stanford Universities. She has spent a significant part of her career in China and the UK, but is a proud Midwesterner at heart.

Nate Nanzer (Commissioner, Overwatch League)

Serving as the commissioner of the Overwatch League and the head of product for all Overwatch esports, Nate Nanzer leads the cross-discipline esports programs for the popular team-based action game from Blizzard Entertainment. Nate began developing plans for an Overwatch esports program in his spare time while working in Blizzard’s marketing department, and has now turned that passion into a full-time role. He oversees the strategy, development, and execution of Overwatch esports for all levels of play (including: the Overwatch League, Overwatch World Cup, Contenders, Open Division, and Tespa), and is responsible for everything from partnerships to competition rules.

Delane Parnell (CEO, PlayVS)

Delane Parnell is currently the Founder and CEO of PlayVS, the 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. 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. In June of 2018, the company announced a $15M Series A led by NEA, the largest ever for a black founder in the consumer internet industry. PlayVS’ inaugural esports season will commence in October 2018.

Tobias Sherman (Founder & CEO, FOUNDRY IV)

Tobias Sherman is co-founder and CEO of the newly formed Foundry IV. In his role as CEO he leads a team in making new strides in New Sports (commonly referred to as esports) through social media, television and new media outlets, and creating and cultivating new business models for the way media is consumed. Winner of two 40 under 40 awards, Sherman is one of the most dependable and seasoned esports executives, pioneering digital deals, esports production, and inaugurating fresh ideals and advocacy for popular teams, casters, and players. Sherman has continuously driven the industry forward with groundbreaking initiatives such as ELEAGUE in partnership with Turner broadcasting and esports training integration at IMG academy.

2019 SXSW Gaming Featured Speakers – Ann Hand, Nate Nanzer, Delane Parnell and Tobias Sherman


Andrew McNeill

Gaming Conference Manager

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