Which company, responsible for a once-popular live gameshow app, is shutting down?
Yup, it’s HQ!
CEO Rus Yusupov made the announcement via a company-wide email, noting that “lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company, and so effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution.”
CNN Business, which obtained the email, reports that Yusupov hired a banker to “help find additional investors and partners to support the expansion of the company.” Further, HQ reportedly received an offer from an established business, but the acquisition fell through before its expected Saturday closing date.
HQ CEO Rus Yusupov just sent a note to staffers (25 full-time employees): "This is one of the hardest things to do in my life, and I'm really sorry for any disruption this may cause you and our players." https://t.co/xmVWdVIFv7 pic.twitter.com/MOWfs434m1
— Kerry Flynn 🐶 (@kerrymflynn) February 14, 2020
HQ launched in 2017 and its first game, HQ Trivia, quickly grew in popularity thanks to its live nature. Twice per day, users could participate in a live trivia show with real cash prizes. However, that initial popularity faded and HQ encountered several setbacks. CNN notes there was internal turmoil, including the death of HQ co-founder and former CEO Colin Kroll in December 2018 from a drug overdose.
Both Yusupov and Kroll were co-founders of popular short-form video app Vine.
Additionally, HQ Trivia’s popular host, Scott Rogowsky, moved on to host a baseball show on DAZN, a sports streaming service.
At the height of its popularity, HQ generated millions in revenue through brand partnerships and in-app purchases, according to Variety. It also worked with big-name brands including Nike and Google, as well as partnered with NBC, ABC and CBS to promote their programs.
Ultimately, it’s sad to see HQ shutdown. The company had a unique idea and, for a short time, it felt like everyone was stopping to play when HQ Trivia hosted a game. Now, I can’t even remember the last time I tuned in for a round of HQ Trivia.