Pharaoh’s Conclave levels up opportunity in gaming

Pharaoh’s Conclave is on a mission to prepare the next generation of the esports workforce — and open opportunities to marginalized communities — by providing K-12 and collegiate youth with access to industry tools, training and professional mentors. By connecting PCX youth with mentors who understand firsthand the way these students move through the world, we’re able to foster organic relationships that create impact and opportunities in the industry. More than 50 PCX program graduates have gone on to full-time careers in esports, transitioning from mentee to mentor. You make real change by starting at the grade level and giving youth the steps to achievement, all with the critical support of the community behind them. 

Working with kids is similar to raising kids: it takes a village. We understood that PCX couldn’t change the face of esports alone — and we also knew that tech is grappling with the same diversity problems as the gaming industry. Less than ​​1%of total venture capital funding in the United States went to Black founders in 2020. Receiving a $100,000 non-dilutive cash award from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund not only empowered us to create economic opportunities for Black and Brown youth, but also fueled wealth generation in our community. Collectively, in just six months the first group of the Black Founders Fund recipients raised an additional $38 million in outside capital.

The investment from Google paved the way for additional wins, including a grant from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, several new partnerships, and requests from multiple county and state entities across the Southeast to provide programming for K-12  and college students. The support empowered us to generate revenues from Level Up Academy (our online learning platform) and hire a professional software design team.  We’ve also established a formal apprenticeship program with the U.S. Department  of Labor the first of its kind for gaming. 

When you solve problems for the most marginalized people, you actually solve problems for everyone. When you fund Black founders, you elevate the entire community.  We will push the industry forward by working together — and by saving competition for the games themselves, instead of for access to the gaming industry.