Hold the phone, HQties — there might be a second act for HQ Trivia.
The once-buzzy live game-show app, whose audience had declined after peaking two years ago, shut down last week after the company ran out of money and a deal fell through to sell it (to Whistle, a sports and entertainment digital-media company, according to multiple sources). Now Rus Yusupov, CEO of parent company Intermedia Labs, claims he has found a potential savior that could bring HQ Trivia back.
“We have found a new home for HQ, with a company that wants to keep it running,” Yusupov said in a tweet Tuesday, saying he “spent the weekend on the phone finding a new buyer.” He said it’s not a done deal yet, “but I’m optimistic. In its new home, we should expect HQ to go through some changes, especially to cover expenses, and be less buggy.”
After Intermedia ran out of cash last week, “we couldn’t afford even severance for the 25 employees it pained me to let go,” Yusupov wrote in the Twitter thread. With the prospective buyer, the company will be able to pay employees and contractors severance, while players will be able to cash out. Friday was a very hard day, according to the CEO.
On Sunday, the HQ Trivia account on Twitter inexplicably tweeted out a phone number, with the comment “Accepting your voicemails.”
HQ Trivia launched in August 2017 and attracted a peak of some 2.3 million concurrent live viewers less than a year later. The draw: a pool of prize money split among those who answered 12 trivia questions correctly. At one point HQ Trivia’s total prize pot hit $250,000 in a game sponsored by Warner Bros. “Ready Player One.”
Comedian Scott Rogowsky, aka “Quiz Daddy,” had been the popular host of HQ Trivia before exiting the gig last year to anchor a baseball show on the DAZN streaming service. Former guest host Matt Richards became the game show’s regular host.
HQ had about 15 million all-time installs, peaking at 2 million in February 2018, according to research firm Sensor Tower. In January 2020, the app had just 67,000 installs.
In 2018, Intermedia raised $15 million in funding led by venture-capital firm Founders Fund, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, which previously invested seed money in the startup, and said it had a valuation at the time of $100 million.