What Happened To HQ Trivia? Why Did It Fail?

What Occurred To HQ Trivia? Why Did It Fail?

Government Abstract:

HQ Trivia is a dwell sport present app that allows customers to compete in opposition to one another and win actual in addition to digital money prizes.

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HQ Trivia failed as a result of it didn’t preserve its sport thrilling, attributable to intense competitors, varied technical points, in addition to points with the founder’s management type.

How HQ Trivia Works

HQ Trivia is a dwell sport present app that allows customers to compete in opposition to one another and win actual in addition to digital money prizes.

Study: How does hq trivia make cash reddit

Right here’s the way it works: first, you obtain the app, which is obtainable on cellular and pill (Android and iOS) units in addition to on Apple TV.

You then be part of its trivia sport which takes place each Thursday at 09:00 pm ET. Again when the app launched, its video games had been hosted twice and every day.

When you entered the sport, you may be greeted by its host who’s being live-streamed from a studio and walks you thru the questions.

Today, the video games are hosted by moderator and comic Matt Richards (alongside a slew of different visitor hosts).

Gamers will then must reply a complete of 12 inquiries to win a money prize, which is equally cut up amongst all winners. They’ve a complete of 10 seconds to pick out one of many three accessible solutions.

If a mistaken reply is given, they’re barred from collaborating within the sport. Nonetheless, gamers should buy further lives to remain within the sport.

The prize cash can then be cashed out by way of PayPal. Initially, HQ Trivia set a minimal cash-out steadiness of $20 which it later eliminated.

Other than its trivia sport, HQ has additionally launched a second sport referred to as HQ Phrases, which is a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ sort of sport requiring gamers to fill out letter blocks to finish sentences.

What Occurred To HQ Trivia?

HQ Trivia, headquartered in New York Metropolis and a sub-organization of Intermedia Labs, was based in 2017 by Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov.

Kroll and Yusupov are most notably recognized for co-founding the now-defunct Vine (alongside their third operating mate Dom Hofmann).

Vine, just some months after they started engaged on it (and with out even being launched), was offered to Twitter for $30 million in the summertime of 2012.

Within the coming years, Vine went from a cultural phenomenon to changing into one of many many firms being laid to relaxation in Twitter’s product graveyard. In October 2016, Vine was formally shut down.

Nonetheless, each Kroll and Yusupov had already moved on. Kroll, who grew to become Vine’s common supervisor in January 2014, left the corporate simply three months later. Formally, he resigned himself whereas individuals near the matter said that he was fired.

Throughout his tenure, he allegedly earned a fame for exhibiting “creepy” conduct towards ladies that made them uncomfortable. Moreover, he was typically clashing with colleagues on the firm and seen shouting at them. That conduct would later come again to hang-out him at HQ Trivia (however extra on that later).

Not lengthy after, in October 2015, Rus Yusupov was among the many 300+ Twitter staff that had been being let go to assist the corporate streamline operations and develop into worthwhile. Kroll and Yusupov then acquired collectively to start out Intermedia Labs, an app studio whose first product would develop into Hype, a product that allowed you to broadcast your self along with your telephone digital camera.

The app launched in late 2016. Sadly, Hype by no means acquired a lot hype and was due to this fact shut down not lengthy after. Their subsequent challenge, Bounce, let customers create music movies by recording their dancing and have it then auto-synced to a music. But once more, the app by no means actually took off.

Fortunately, the third time was actually the attraction of their case. In late August 2017, the duo unveiled the iOS app for HQ Trivia to the world.

One of many sport’s instantaneous differentiators was its host Scott Rogowsky, a 33-year-old comic who spent the previous decade attempting to make a reputation for himself. Previous to his HQ Trivia gig, he was even pressured to maneuver again into his household residence as he struggled to get by financially.

Within the first few weeks, just a few hundred gamers joined the usually scheduled video games. Nonetheless, as media protection elevated, so did HQ’s consumer numbers. By the tip of October, it had already over 10,000 concurrent gamers becoming a member of the video games.

In November, CEO Yusupov already acquired himself in some public bother. He threatened to fireside his star host Scott Rogowsky over a profile that the Each day Beast had written about Rogowsky. In there, the host mentioned that, despite HQ’s exponential progress, he was nonetheless in a position to go outdoors “order his favourite salad from Sweetgreen” with out individuals interrupting him.

Regardless of Yusupov’s antics, HQ Trivia continued to develop like a wildfire. By the tip of November, its video games attracted over 100,000 viewers. The prize cash went from $100 on the launch date to $7,500.

To have the ability to fund these rewards, the group was reaching out to numerous buyers for funding. Sadly, they initially had a troublesome time elevating as a result of beforehand talked about fame Kroll gained as a supervisor at Twitter.

Within the meantime, to proceed increasing and defend itself in opposition to the onslaught of recent opponents (who, in some cases, had been straight-up copies like The Q Trivia), HQ Trivia launched its Android app in the beginning of December. It additionally launched in Canada that very same month.

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By the tip of 2017, HQ Trivia and its host Rogowsky grew to become a cultural phenomenon. A few of its video games had been in a position to entice over 700,000 concurrent gamers. With the exponential rise in customers, the app additionally skilled increasingly more technical points. Its streams had been typically getting laggy, and at instances, even fully crashing down (and thus needed to be restarted).

No matter these points, the first of January ended up beginning with a bang. The 9 pm sport that date had over a million individuals request to affix to win a $15,000 money prize. HQ Trivia doubled down on the hype by launching a separate model of its sport within the UK.

After months of pitching to dozens of buyers, Kroll and Yusupov had been lastly in a position to increase one other spherical of funding (Lightspeed Ventures had initially poured $8 million into the enterprise earlier than it launched).

Founders Fund, the funding arm of Peter Thiel, led a $15 million spherical that valued HQ Trivia at a whopping $100 million – lower than six months after launching (in February 2018). However HQ wouldn’t be HQ if that funding announcement didn’t include its personal set of challenges.

The funding of Thiel’s fund, who grew to become the middle of public consideration after publicly supporting Donald Trump and was chargeable for the shutdown of Gawker (amongst many different questionable issues), led to a public outcry in opposition to HQ Trivia. Individuals went so far as proposing to #DeleteHQ by way of their Twitter handles.

Nonetheless, the criticism rapidly pale in favor of gamers persevering with to go loopy over the sport. Essentially the most notable instance grew to become a viral video of a girl who went loopy over successful $11.30 throughout one in every of its January video games.

NBC even aired the clip simply three minutes earlier than its Tremendous Bowl broadcast started, which led to an onslaught of recent gamers. The corporate was additionally in a position to entice some main stars for cameos, together with Robert De Niro, Jimmy Kimmel, and Sting. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson even visitor hosted a sport with a prize of $300,000.

In March 2018, HQ Trivia launched an iPad app and started to seek out its first technique of being profitable. As an example, the founders closed a $3 million take care of varied firms, together with Nike and Warner Bros., to run sponsored video games inside its app.

The agency additionally created varied themed quizzes, equivalent to those it ran through the 2018 NBA finals in Could and June. To that extent, it launched HQ Sports activities, a derivative trivia sport aimed toward sports activities followers, in July. A month after, in August, HQ Trivia additionally added assist for the Apple TV.

Sadly, all of those additions cease the decline in consumer engagement that began to come up within the summertime. Its app rankings fell from the highest 10 all the way in which into the tons of. The corporate, on account of its stagnating progress, named co-founder Colin Kroll as its latest CEO, successfully changing Yusupov took the position of Chief Inventive Officer.

The board alleged that Yusupov didn’t preserve customers engaged. As a substitute of introducing new sport codecs, he was relatively centered on upping money prizes. The 2 founders had additionally allegedly clashed a number of instances over find out how to deploy the funds that they had within the financial institution.

Days after Kroll grew to become CEO, a grievance was filed in opposition to him over a supposed aggressive administration type. Nonetheless, as TechCrunch later revealed, this was all a part of a ploy that Yusupov had organized. He apparently pushed that HQ worker to file the grievance in opposition to Kroll with none benefit to it.

Yusupov even prompt making Rogowsky, HQ’s beloved host, the brand new CEO of the corporate. Because of the management swap, a number of board members of HQ additionally determined to resign. Sadly, Kroll’s reign wouldn’t final too lengthy, both.

On December sixteenth, 2018, Kroll was discovered useless in his Manhattan condominium attributable to a drug overdose. The seller who offered him the medication was later discovered responsible and, in September 2021, sentenced to eight years in federal jail.

After Kroll’s tragic passing, Yusupov once more grew to become HQ’s chief govt. Not lengthy after, HQ launched a second sport format named HQ Phrases, a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ sort of sport requiring gamers to fill out letter blocks to finish sentences.

In January 2019, HQ additionally launched digital factors, which in some video games changed precise money prizes. This, consequently, left a number of its loyal participant base upset. To make issues worse, increasingly more of these customers started complaining that they weren’t in a position to money out their winnings, typically ready weeks at a time to get issues resolved.

In the meantime, HQ’s personal staff weren’t too blissful both. In February 2019, 20 of the agency’s 35 staff issued a letter asking the board to eliminate Yusupov and rent a extra skilled CEO as his alternative.

As a substitute, Yusupov emerged victoriously and retained his CEO place. On high of that, the corporate additionally fired two of the staff that had revolted in opposition to him. Nonetheless, one worker’s departure wound up hurting the corporate, although.

Rogowsky, involved by HQ’s unsure future, picked up a facet gig by which he would host ChangeUp, a newly launched baseball speak present on the DAZN community. Nonetheless, Rogowsky needed to stay at HQ and proceed internet hosting its large weekend contests.

Yusupov, nevertheless, needed him to stay solely signed to HQ Trivia. The negotiations between the 2 finally fell via and on April twelfth, 2019, Scott Rogowsky was out and finally changed by Matt Richards. Yusupov even informed the media that they ran an inside survey of its high gamers and so they rated Richards, who’d been guest-hosting earlier than, larger than Rogowsky – a transfer that many thought was supposed to shift the eye away from Yusupov.

HQ continued to experiment with new options, equivalent to permitting gamers to earn money prizes for answering particular questions. But, even these couldn’t cease the bleeding. In July 2019, HQ Trivia laid off round 20 % of its workforce (equal to seven staff) in an effort to save lots of prices.

Then, in February 2020, the inevitable lastly occurred. HQ Trivia introduced that it will lay off its full employees of 25 and stop operations. Its final sport, which aired on the thirteenth of February, was definitely symbolic of the chaotic instances it went via. The 2 hosts had been seen popping champagne bottles and, fairly clearly, being intoxicated.

Days prior, a take care of media firm Whistles, which bid $20 million for HQ Trivia, fell via. Although, if you happen to thought that was the tip of it, then you definately clearly don’t know Yusupov properly sufficient.

Yusupov, a month after the announcement, managed to seek out an nameless investor who primarily saved the corporate. By March, HQ Trivia was resurrected from the startup graveyard. One of many causes, in all likeliness, was the emergence of the novel coronavirus, which pressured individuals into locking themselves down – and thus attracted a few of them to play the trivia sport.

Today, HQ Trivia continues to run its trivia in addition to Phrases video games on a weekly foundation. Nonetheless, its consumer engagement is a far cry from its early days by which it attracted multiple million gamers at a time.

Why Did HQ Trivia Fail?

HQ Trivia failed as a result of it didn’t preserve its sport thrilling, attributable to intense competitors, varied technical points, in addition to points with the founder’s management type.

Let’s take a more in-depth take a look at every of those causes within the part under.

Lack Of Innovation

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One of many main the reason why HQ Trivia failed was its incapability to maintain its sport thrilling and innovate on new codecs.

As beforehand talked about, one of many main causes for Yusupov’s preliminary elimination as CEO was his incapability to ship new options and merchandise quick sufficient.

Allegedly, he was very gradual in making choices and pushed deadlines additional and additional into the longer term.

As a substitute, HQ Trivia merely relied on the agency’s current sport format, assuming that merely including new visitor hosts and upping the money prizes.

Ultimately, the novelty of the sport format started sporting off and even new sport codecs like HQ Phrases weren’t in a position to get customers excited once more.


Other than the group’s incapability to innovate, HQ Trivia additionally confronted stiff competitors from each native opponents and trivia video games overseas.

Proper after it launched, The Q Trivia and Qriket emerged as two options. The previous was nearly wanting like an outright clone.

To make issues worse, Chinese language entrepreneurs additionally started creating native variations and even U.S. tv studios began apps of their very own.

Whereas HQ Trivia was struggling to innovate, these beforehand talked about opponents had been introducing new sport codecs left and proper. The mixture of these two components definitely didn’t assist its trigger.

Technical Points

HQ Trivia was (and truly nonetheless is) stricken by quite a lot of completely different technical points that severely hampered the taking part in expertise.

At first, its streams had been typically very laggy and, at instances, even breaking down. That meant that the video games needed to be fully restarted, which clearly led customers to drop out.

One other situation that began to emerge round January 2018 was bots. Software program packages just like the ‘HQ Trivia Assistant’ or ‘HQuack’ would routinely reply questions on the consumer’s behalf.

Apparently, their accuracy could possibly be as excessive as 90 %. That always led to many extra individuals successful video games, which then considerably decreased the prize cash every particular person participant acquired.

As an example, throughout a sport on February sixth, 2018, by which 786,883 individuals participated, a complete of 9,046 answered all questions accurately. These winners then acquired all however 23¢ every.

Final however not least, gamers additionally repeatedly have issues with cashing out their winnings. A few of them have to attend months at a time to see the cash hit their financial institution accounts.

If the entire premise of the sport, that’s to win prize cash, is made redundant, it’s no shock that folks will shift their consideration away in the direction of different technique of leisure.


Lastly, one more reason for HQ Trivia’s failure was the management (or lack thereof) of each Kroll and Yusupov.

As beforehand said, the duo had a troublesome time elevating cash through the early days of HQ attributable to Kroll’s questionable previous at Twitter.

He had been accused of each aggressively shouting at individuals in addition to exhibiting creepy conduct in the direction of ladies.

This conduct allegedly carried over into HQ Trivia. Nonetheless, many of the staff had been nonetheless in favor of him when he took the position of CEO to successfully exchange Yusupov.

Yusupov himself wasn’t a saint both. His questionable conduct was first displayed when he publicly threatened to fireside Rogowsky attributable to a light-hearted profile that the Each day Beast ran on him.

He additionally had bother with capitalizing on the corporate’s preliminary hype. As a substitute of innovating on new sport codecs, he was gradual in making choices and easily doubled on what had been working earlier than (that’s to spend extra on manufacturing and prize cash).

Former colleagues additionally described him as self-centered and egoistic. One nameless staffer of HQ Trivia had the next to say about Yusupov and Kroll: “Colin beloved HQ and was devoted to all the staff greater than Rus. Rus cares about Rus. Colin cared in regards to the content material,” he mentioned to TechCrunch in April 2019.

Ultimately, a bunch of staff even signed a petition to have Yusupov eliminated as CEO of the corporate – with out a lot success, although. In the long run, lots of these staff merely left HQ, which made it more durable for the agency to launch new merchandise and repair these beforehand talked about technical points.

What Does HQ Trivia Stand For?

The corporate and its management truly by no means confirmed what HQ stands for. In January 2018, Yusupov was being interviewed on CBS This Morning and mentioned there’s no official reply to be given about its official title.

HQ host Scott Rogowsky, who sat subsequent to him, chimed in and mentioned it could possibly be “no matter you need it to be” and went on to counsel the title “Exhausting Questions”.

Truly, over the approaching weeks and months, he oftentimes teased the viewers in regards to the precise title. Throughout one present, he was holding an envelope that was containing the precise title. When he lastly opened it, it jokingly learn “Humpbacked Quail.”

Nonetheless, others have been savvier about discovering the reality. A consumer on Reddit truly went so far as checking the app’s supply code and located that one in every of its servers was named “quiz.hype”, which he concluded to be the precise which means of HQ.

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