HQ Trivia, the company behind the once-popular live mobile trivia game, abruptly shut down on Friday, just over two years after its HQ app launched. Users quickly took to Twitter demanding their winnings from the last games. Meanwhile, 25 full-time employees are out of work.
HQ launched for Apple iOS in August 2017, and for Android in December 2017. It was developed by Vine creators Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll. Its first game, HQ Trivia, allowed users to play daily trivia games for prize money, an quickly attracted millions of users to play. The New York Times even published a profile in December 2017, and original host Scott Rogowsky often appeared on television to promote the game.
You zapped away my $78.71...are you just taking away everyone’s money and running?— Igor Saika (@igorsaika) February 15, 2020
However, the app's popularity quickly waned and the company was struck by a series of setbacks. In December 2018, Kroll died from a drug overdose.
@hqtrivia Well it looks like you guys ripped me off! I tried to cash out of the $35.15 that you owed me and it is NOT in my Paypal account! And it is now gone from HQ! This is a matter of principle - when am I going to get my money? Do you have the guts to answer me?— Harvey Kitzman (@DrHarveyK) February 15, 2020
On Friday, Yusupov, who served as HQ Trivia CEO, sent an email to employees announcing its investors are no longer interested in funding the company, reports CNN Business. The company worked with a banker to find more investors and even received an offer from "an established business" on Feb. 8, but the acquisition fell apart.
Hey Rus how do I collect my money??? I tried to cash out but it wouldn’t let me. I hope you’re not keeping my winnings— Aaron Weimer (@The_Dean12) February 15, 2020
Rogowsky teased something was up on Thursday when he tweeted a still from Uncut Gems with the subtitle "This is how I win." On Friday afternoon, he said the company did not die from "natural causes."
"HQ didn't die of natural causes," the former host tweeted. "It was poisoned with a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance, short-sightedness & sociopathic delusion. Saddened to see it finally succumb; sadder still for the good & talented staff abruptly left in the lurch after being gaslit and lied to."
Rogowsky, who left HQ in April 2019, thanked fans for reaching out and said he shared their "frustrations & condolences."
I don’t have a paypal account, but I get the feeling the money isn’t there anyway. I’m ok with that. Y’all needed it more than me. pic.twitter.com/MqfTLt4mws— E Comment (@EComment) February 15, 2020
"I remain forever grateful for the wild ride I took with HQ, from the terrifying lows to the dizzying highs to the creamy middles," he also wrote, and called on others to quickly find jobs for others who worked for the company.0comments
HQ generated its revenue through partnerships with high-profile brands like Nike, Google, ABC, NBC, CBS and their in-app purchases. However, hints at financial issues surfaced in July 2019, when employees were laid off and others quit as interest in the game took a dive.
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