HQ Trivia is dead. Today the company has fired its 25 employees and will stop operating its trivia, sports and vocabulary games, a source close to the company confirmed.
HQ Trivia had a deal in the works to be acquired, but its buyer withdrew yesterday and investors are no longer willing to fund it, said CEO and co-founder Rus Yusupov in a statement by CNN Business & # 39 ; Kerry Flynn .
“We received an offer from an established company to acquire the headquarters and further expand our vision. We had final agreements and legal documents as well as a planned deadline for tomorrow. For reasons that we are still investigating, they suddenly changed their position and despite our efforts we were unable to reach an agreement, ”Yusupov writes. “Unfortunately, our main investors are no longer willing to finance the company, and so effectively the headquarters will shut down and move to liquidation today. As of today, all employees and contractors will be terminated. “
TechCrunch started in October 2017 and wrote the first coverage of the live video quiz with 12 questions by two of the former Vine founders. Users could win real money by answering all questions and not being eliminated in multiple daily games. HQ Trivia had raised over $ 15 million, including a Series A led by the Founders Fund. At one point, it had over 2.3 million simultaneous players.
But at some point the novelty waned. Fraudsters came in and split the prize money down to just a few dollars or cents per winner. Imitators were created internationally. Technical issues caused users to be kicked out of the game.
Then a tragedy occurred. Co-founder Colin Kroll passed away. This exacerbated the internal problems at HQ Trivia. Product development was slow, so users were fed up with the game. New game types and viral functions came too late.
After an unsuccessful internal mutiny, employees prepared to petition the board to remove Yusupov from the position of CEO. When he got wind of the conspiracy, the organizers of the revolt were fired. Morale has dropped. By July 2019, the downloads were only 8% of the previous year and 20% of the employees were fired. HQ managed approximately 15 million installations of all time, peaking at 2 million in February 2018, compared to just 67,000 in the past month, according to Sensor Tower.
The decline of HQ Trivia shows the moody nature of the game and the startup scene as a whole. Current traction is no guarantee of future success. Products must constantly evolve and adapt to their target group in order to remain relevant. And executives need to move forward while clearly communicating with their teams even under uncertainty, or their companies must wither over time.