• Embattled live-gameshow app HQ Trivia is reportedly shutting down its operations after a deal to acquire the company fell through.
  • “Effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution. All employees and contractors will be terminated as of today,” HQ Trivia’s CEO and co-founder Rus Yusupov announced in a company-wide email obtained by Kerry Flynn of CNN Business.
  • The app’s extreme popularity in 2017 attracted over 15 million user installs, and highlighted its potential to re-imagine live shows for the digital age.
  • But HQ Trivia struggled to recover from the loss of its cofounder and CEO Colin Kroll, who died unexpectedly in December 2018.
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HQ Trivia, a ground-breaking live gameshow for smartphones that went viral three years ago, is declaring game over and will shut down after struggling to obtain funding or a buyer, CNN Business reported on Friday.

Rus Yusupov, the CEO of HQ Trivia, sent an email to the company’s 25 employees announcing the news, according the report. All employees would be laid off as a part of the process, the email said.

“Unfortunately, our lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company and so, effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution,” Yusupov wrote in the email.

HQ Trivia had been in acquisition discussions with an unspecified buyer, but Yusupov said in the email that the deal fell through. Intermedia Labs, the company behind the app, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The news of HQ Trivia’s demise is a harsh ending for an app that launched to great acclaim, but soon found itself struggling to keep users coming back and to recover from the tragedy of the death of cofounder Colin Kroll.

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HQ Trivia was once seen as the live-gameshow for the digital age, attracting millions to play the show’s 15-minute segments. It was founded by two of Vine’s co-founders, Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov, attracted millions in funding from investors like Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund, and managed about 15 million all-time installs, according to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower.

But the death of its co-founder and former CEO Kroll in December 2018 plunged the company into months of internal turmoil. Employees did not take to the leadership of its new CEO, and over half signed a letter asking for the company board to get rid of Yusupov. Scott Rogowsky, the beloved host of the trivia show, left the company in April.

HQ Trivia’s installs plunged amid the turmoil, from an all-time high of 2 million in February 2018 to just 67,000 by January 2020.