HQ Trivia has been shut down. On 15 February, the company released its full staff of 25 and shut down operation of its sports, trivia, and word guessing games, according to a source close to the company.
Failed Acquisition Attempt
HQ Trivia was undergoing a deal to be acquired, however, the buyer pulled out on Thursday and investors refused to provide funds to the company any longer, CEO and co-founder Rus Yusupov said in a statement obtained by CNN Business’ Kerry Flynn:
“We received an offer from an established business to acquire HQ and continue building our vision, had definitive agreements and legal docs, and a projected closing date of tomorrow, and for reasons we are still investigating, they suddenly changed their position and despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an agreement,” Yusupov wrote. “Unfortunately, our lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company, and so effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution. All employees and contractors will be terminated as of today.”
Released in October 2017, TechCrunch wrote about the company’s first coverage of the 12-question live video trivia game initiated by two of the former Vine founders. Users were able to win real money by giving answers to all the questions and not being disqualified in multiple daily games. HQ Trivia managed to raise more than $15 million, including Series A which was led by Founders Fund. At a certain point, it constituted more than 2.3 million concurrent players.
However, eventually, the freshness of the concept began to fade off. Cheaters came in, dividing the prize money down to just a few dollars or cents per winner. Copycats of the concept surfaced internationally. Engineering problems resulted in users to get kicked out of the game.
Fickle Nature of the Gaming Industry
After that, the real tragedy struck passing away from the Co-founder Colin Kroll. This intensified internal problems at HQ Trivia. Product development became sluggish, resulting in users to become bored and tired of the game. Latest game types and viral features materialized very late.’
A failed internal defiance observed staffers getting ready to petition the board to get rid of Yusupov from the CEO position. When he came to know about the wind of the plot, organizers of the revolt were fired. The morale of the staff sunk. By July 2019, downloads decreased to just 8% of their previous years, and about 20% of the staff was released. According to Sensor Tower, HQ was managing 15 million all-time installs, maximum at 2 million in February 2018, while last month it had only 67,000.
The shutting down of HQ Trivia symbolizes the capricious nature of the gaming industry and the startup scenario as a whole picture. It is clear from this news that momentary traction does not guarantee future success. Now it is of sheer importance that products must constantly evolve and change according to their audience to stay pertinent. Executives must advance while communicating clearly with their respective teams, even amidst uncertainty, or identify their companies parched by the quick passing of time.
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