12 questions on the way forward for HQ trivia and its $15M fundraise


HQ is redefining cellular, creating via its twice-daily trivia video games a way of urgency that pierces the monotony of our social feeds. Now it’s raised a giant spherical of funding to show its scrappy operation into the Jeopardy from tomorrow. However similar to its 12-round video games, we’ve bought 12 questions (and a few solutions) for HQ:

1. Why is HQ particular?

Every thing else in your telephone occurs in your schedule, so there’s nothing to overlook, but in addition nothing to stay up for. By assembling its gamers (often known as HQties) at midday and 6pm Pacific every day through push notification, it creates a shared expertise akin to an enormous sporting occasion. And there’s an actual incentive. Gamers attempt to reply 12 multiple-choice questions, and anybody who will get all of them splits the jackpot. One in every of its largest video games just lately noticed 2 million gamers vying for $50,000. Even when a bunch of individuals win and everybody simply will get slightly reduce of the money, that shared expertise makes them really feel momentarily well-known. Few apps drive such emotion.

2. What’s up with the fundraise?

HQ’s mum or dad firm Intermedia Labs simply raised $15 million at a $100 million post-money valuation, Axios confirmed after Recode reported some particulars final month. The spherical was led by Founders Fund and its companion Cyan Banister, with participation from former investor Lightspeed Ventures, which had beforehand invested $eight million.

three. Will HQ lastly cease crashing? 

HQ incessantly has to postpone video games as a result of its servers are overloaded by all of the gamers becoming a member of. The funding will primarily go towards enhancing its engineering so the app doesn’t crash and other people can depend on getting their trivia repair every day.

four. How will it monetize?

HQ isn’t incomes cash proper now, however there are many potentialities. Co-founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, who previously constructed Vine, say to not count on interstitial adverts between questions. As an alternative, you would think about manufacturers sponsoring questions or offering a much bigger jackpot. HQ may characteristic product placement and even give away these items to runners-up. It may let customers pay for an additional life, as an alternative of simply letting you earn them via referrals. Or it may create a particular “Champion’s Edition” with larger prizes however that solely paid subscribers can be part of.

5. How does it preserve the sport feeling recent?

HQ has had a couple of visitor hosts, like Jimmy Kimmel. However HQties love Scott a lot that individual-question visitor hosts would possibly work higher. Multi-media questions with video or photographs may spice issues up. And mini-games during which eradicated gamers can take part may preserve them watching even after they can’t win the jackpot. Occasional themed video games round subjects like sports activities or video video games may develop the app’s consumer base, attracting industry-specific sponsors by pulling in area of interest audiences who then stick round for the general-purpose video games.

6. Will it tie in with tv?

HQ just lately bought some free pre- and post-Tremendous Bowl commercials because of NBC proprietor Comcast, fueling hypothesis of a partnership. HQ may at all times launch a tv present that may develop its mainstream viewers, however pit it towards tons of different TV recreation reveals. If HQ may determine find out how to sync a TV and cellular model, it may create a brand new imaginative and prescient for interactive leisure.

7. Can it internationalize earlier than clones do?

China already has a slew of HQ copy-cats, like “Million Dollar Hero” from Toutiao, the information app owned by Bytedance that just lately acquired Musically. Some even get extra gamers than the unique. HQ has spawned its personal U.Ok. model, but it surely should determine find out how to divide and conquer the globe earlier than native upstarts field it out. A Spanish or Indian language recreation may show common.

eight. Will it promote to a giant platform?

HQ could be the crown jewel of platforms like Fb Watch or Snapchat Uncover. They’re certainly contemplating find out how to construct or purchase their approach into the market. At a $100 million worth, they might simply pay a giant premium and nonetheless get a doubtlessly profitable deal. The truth that HQ hasn’t already light away like some fad since its August debut epitomizes the glued-in engagement platforms crave and will make it a sexy acquisition. However that’s additionally why the founders shouldn’t promote. After watching Twitter purchase and squander Vine, Yusupov famously tweeted, “Don’t sell your company!”

9. Does host Scott RogowskY have an fairness stake so he’ll keep?

We don’t know, however HQ could be sensible to make him a partial proprietor. HQ’s spunky quizzmaster is the face of the model that’s beloved by followers. HQ may take a severe hit if some competitor or tech big like Fb or Snapchat poached him with a giant payday to make their very own HQ clone.

10. Can HQ keep away from scandals?

To change into a family-favorite recreation folks wish to play collectively, HQ can’t be dragged down. Yusupov already flipped when a reporter talked to Rogowski. Rumors have swirled round Kroll’s conduct towards girls whereas at Vine, however Banister says she “became comfortable after looking at everything” earlier than investing. Few apps depend on a character like Rogowski, or encourage such word-of-mouth dialogue, making the startup significantly susceptible to crises. Everybody have to be on their greatest conduct.

11. Can HQ beat the cheats?

The entire recreation falls aside if it doesn’t appear truthful. Some folks already play by attempting to Google the solutions, although the 10-second time restrict makes that robust. Introducing unGooglable textual content questions, multimedia clues and utilizing particular backgrounds that thwart pc imaginative and prescient may preserve HQ a check of human information.

12. Will HQ keep common?

When TechCrunch wrote the first-ever article about HQ again in October, there have been simply three,300 gamers competing for a $150 jackpot. Now with hundreds of thousands of players chasing tens of hundreds in prizes, it’s skilled meteoric progress. It ought to actually add some little quiz folks can attempt after they enroll so that they don’t have to attend for the following scheduled recreation. However so long as the engineering retains up with its dimension, the prizes continue to grow and the competitors retains triggering your adrenaline, I believe HQ will thrive. If fewer folks begin enjoying, your probabilities of successful massive enhance, making a pure barrier to churn. And keep in mind, TV recreation reveals typically run for many years.


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Désiré LeSage


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