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From Rise to Revival: Unraveling the HQ Trivia Phenomenon

Are you a trivia buff who loves to put their knowledge to the test? Or are you someone who loves to compete for prizes?

If so, have you downloaded HQ Trivia? HQ Trivia is a live game show app where you can compete with players from around the world to win real cash prizes.

Launched in 2017, HQ Trivia has become one of the most popular quiz apps in the world, with millions of users tuning in regularly to test their knowledge and compete for virtual and real cash prizes.

In this article, we will take a closer look at HQ Trivia, how it works, and the founders behind it.

Let’s dive in!

Overview of HQ Trivia

HQ Trivia is a live game show app that allows players from all over the world to compete against each other in a trivia game. The game is hosted live and streamed directly to your smartphone.

The game is simple: answer questions correctly, and you could win a cash prize. To participate in HQ Trivia, download the app, create a profile, and join the trivia game at the scheduled time.

HQ Trivia is hosted by a live host, who will read out the multiple-choice questions. You have ten seconds to answer each question, and if you answer all the questions correctly, you could win a cash prize.

The game usually consists of 12 questions, and the cash prize is distributed among the players who answered all the questions correctly.

In addition, HQ Trivia also has an additional feature called “HQ Words.” The game is hosted by a new host and is similar to traditional Hangman.

Players have to guess an incomplete word within a set amount of time to win prizes.

Players can also win virtual cash prizes, which can be redeemed for extra lives that can be used during the game.

Extra lives give you another chance to answer a question correctly and stay in the game.

How HQ Trivia Works

To play HQ Trivia, download the app and create a profile. After creating your account, you will receive a notification when the next game is starting.

When the game starts, a live host will read out the multiple-choice questions. You have ten seconds to answer each question.

If you answer a question incorrectly or don’t answer within the set time, you will be eliminated from the game. If you answer all the questions correctly, you can win a cash prize.

The cash prize is distributed among the players who answered all the questions correctly. The cash prize is usually $5,000.

However, if the prize isn’t won, it is added to the prize pool for the next game.

Players can also purchase extra lives with virtual cash prizes.

Extra lives allow you to stay in the game even if you get a question wrong, giving you another chance to win a cash prize.

To claim a cash prize, you need to cash out via PayPal, and the money will be transferred to your account.

Founders and History of HQ Trivia

HQ Trivia was founded by Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov. Kroll was previously the co-founder of Vine, a social media platform for short-form videos.

Yusupov was the co-founder of Hype, a social network for live streaming. The two had previously worked on another business called Bounce, which was a video sharing app.

Kroll passed away in December 2018, and Yusupov took over as CEO of HQ Trivia.

HQ Trivia launched in August 2017 and gained popularity quickly.

The app was developed by Intermedia Labs, a New York-based company. The app quickly became one of the most popular quiz apps in the world, with millions of users tuning in regularly to test their knowledge.


In conclusion, HQ Trivia is an interesting app that allows users to compete against each other in a quiz game with the opportunity to win cash prizes. The game’s founders, Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov, had previously worked on other ventures, including Vine and Hype.

The app has quickly gained popularity, with millions of users tuning in regularly to test their knowledge and compete for virtual and cash prizes. If you’re a trivia buff who loves to compete, you might want to give HQ Trivia a try.

HQ Trivia was an instant hit when it launched in 2017, with millions of users tuning in daily to participate in the live quiz game and compete for cash prizes. The app generated a lot of buzz and quickly gained media attention due to its unique concept and engaging gameplay.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the growth and rise of HQ Trivia, the challenges it faced, and what led to its eventual decline.

Initial Growth and Popularity of HQ Trivia

HQ Trivia’s initial success can be attributed to its innovative gameplay, engaging content, and generous cash prizes. The app was built around a simple and intuitive concept, a live game show where players had a chance to win real cash prizes.

The game was hosted by charismatic hosts who were able to keep the audience engaged and entertained throughout the game.

In the first few weeks of its launch, HQ Trivia had over one million downloads and had grown to over 100,000 concurrent players.

The app also received media coverage from prominent outlets, including The New York Times, CNBC, and The Wall Street Journal. The buzz generated helped the app reach new heights, and the user numbers continued to grow steadily.

Challenges, Technical Issues, and Funding

As with any startup, HQ Trivia faced several challenges, including technical issues and competition from other similar apps. The app’s early success also made it a target for copycats and bots, which led to a lot of spam and made the user experience less enjoyable.

The app also suffered from laggy streams and frequent crashing, which caused a lot of frustration among users. To help address these issues and support the app’s growth, HQ Trivia raised several rounds of funding from investors, including a $15 million funding round led by Peter Thiel.

The investment helped the app improve its servers, hire more staff, and expand its operations to more cities and countries. However, the app also faced controversy related to funding, which we will delve into in more detail below.

Decline and Issues Faced by HQ Trivia

Despite its initial success, HQ Trivia’s popularity began to decline in late 2018 and early 2019. Several factors contributed to this decline, including a lack of innovative content and engagement, competition from other similar apps, and technical issues.

Lack of Innovation and Engagement

HQ Trivia’s early success was based on its engaging content, innovative gameplay, and charismatic hosts. However, the app failed to introduce new formats or content to keep the audience engaged.

The app’s gameplay became repetitive and predictable, which made the overall experience less enjoyable for players.

Competition and Technical Issues

HQ Trivia faced fierce competition from other similar apps, including local competitors who offered similar games with cash prizes. The app also faced issues related to bots, which hacked into the system and interfered with gameplay.

These issues made it difficult for HQ Trivia to maintain its audience, many of whom migrated to other similar apps. The app also faced technical issues related to server outages, which affected the app’s overall performance and made it challenging for users to cash out their earnings.

These issues led to frustration among players, who became less invested in the app over time.

Leadership Problems and Controversies

One of the most significant challenges faced by HQ Trivia was related to leadership and management problems. The company’s founders, Rus Yusupov and the late Colin Kroll, were known for their aggressive and self-centered behavior, which led to conflicts among staff and a toxic workplace culture.

In late 2018, an employee petition called for Yusupov’s removal as CEO, citing issues related to leadership and communication. The controversy surrounding the app’s leadership and funding also contributed to its decline.

The app faced several controversies related to funding, including allegations of misuse of company funds and disputes among shareholders. These issues led to a lack of confidence among investors and made it challenging for the app to secure additional funding.


In conclusion, HQ Trivia was initially a game-changing app that revolutionized the quiz app genre. However, the app’s decline can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of innovation, competition, and technical issues.

The app’s leadership and management problems also contributed to its eventual downfall. Today, the app is no longer active, and its legacy serves as a cautionary tale for other startups in the highly competitive app industry.

HQ Trivia took the app world by storm when it launched in 2017, quickly becoming one of the most popular quiz apps in the world. However, the app faced several challenges and controversies that ultimately led to its demise.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the fall and revival of HQ Trivia, as well as the uncertainty surrounding its name.

Layoffs and Shutdown Announcement

In February 2020, HQ Trivia laid off its full staff and announced that it would cease operations following the final game. The announcement came after several months of declining user engagement and funding issues, which made it difficult for the app to sustain its operations.

The final game was hosted by the app’s former host, Scott Rogowsky, and garnered significant media attention as fans tuned in for one last time to bid farewell to the app.

Anonymous Investor and Revival

Following the shutdown announcement, HQ Trivia went dark, and its fans wondered if they would ever see the app again. However, in May 2020, the app was resurrected by an anonymous investor, who acquired the app’s assets and relaunched the game.

The revival was timely, as many users were looking for ways to stay entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new owner also made several changes to the app, including moving to a weekly game format and introducing smaller cash prizes.

The relaunch was met with mixed reactions from users, with some expressing excitement while others remained skeptical. However, user engagement remained high, indicating that the app still had a significant following.

Current State of HQ Trivia

Today, HQ Trivia continues to operate in a weekly game format, offering users a chance to compete for smaller cash prizes. The app has improved its performance and added new features, such as team play, which allows users to compete in groups.

The app has also partnered with brands to offer sponsored games, providing a new source of revenue. While the app’s revival was a welcome surprise for fans, it remains to be seen whether it can sustain its operations in the long run.

The app faces stiff competition from other similar apps, as well as technical issues and funding challenges. However, with a dedicated fan base and a commitment to innovation, HQ Trivia has a chance to make a comeback in the competitive app industry.

Uncertainty of HQ Trivia’s Name

One of the most intriguing aspects of HQ Trivia is its name, which has sparked speculation and inquiry from fans around the world. While the app’s founders have not revealed the official meaning behind the name, some theories suggest that it stands for “Headquarters Trivia,” while others believe it refers to “High Quality Trivia.”

In addition to speculation, some users have delved into the app’s source code to search for clues about its name.

One discovery was the use of the file name “quiz.hype” for the app’s server, which has led some to speculate that the app was originally intended to be named “Hype Quiz.”

Despite the numerous theories and speculations, the app’s founders have not provided an official explanation for the name. However, former host Scott Rogowsky once joked that it stood for “the Hemispheric Quizness,” which only added to the mystery surrounding the name.


In conclusion, HQ Trivia’s rise, fall, and revival offer a fascinating case study for startups in the app industry. The app’s initial success was based on its innovative concept and engaging gameplay, but challenges related to leadership, technical issues, and competition contributed to its decline.

However, the app’s resurrection by an anonymous investor suggests that it still has a loyal following and a chance to thrive in the ever-evolving world of apps. As for the meaning of its name, it remains a mystery that only adds to the app’s allure and intrigue.

In this article, we explored the rise, fall, and revival of HQ Trivia, a live game show app that captivated millions of users before facing significant challenges. We discussed how initial growth and popularity gave way to challenges such as technical issues, competition, and leadership problems.

Despite a shutdown announcement, the app was revived by an anonymous investor, leading to its current state with weekly games. We also delved into the uncertainty surrounding the meaning of its name.

The story of HQ Trivia serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of the app industry and the importance of innovation, user engagement, and effective leadership. While HQ Trivia’s journey had its ups and downs, it remains a memorable case that underscores the ever-changing landscape of mobile apps and the potential for surprise comebacks.

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