After reportedly laying off 20% of its staff amid dwindling downloads, HQ Trivia is about to try something new


HQ Trivia Hosts Season 4

  • HQ Trivia has reportedly laid off about 20% of its staff, leaving the live game show startup with less than 30 employees.
  • Downloads of the HQ Trivia app were down 92% in June when compared to last year, according to data analyst firm SensorTower.
  • HQ will test a new subscription-based model for HQ Words, a spin-off game resembling “Wheel of Fortune.” A tweet from HQ Words said the subscription will cost $10 per month but will offer daily prizes for members.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

HQ Trivia has had a rough 2019. The live game show startup has struggled to recover from the loss of co-founder and CEO Colin Kroll, who died unexpectedly in December 2018.

In April, about half of HQ Trivia’s 35 employees signed a letter asking the company’s board to remove co-founder Rus Yusupov as CEO, the second time the request was made. Longtime host Scott “Quiz Daddy” Rogowsky also left HQ Trivia in April.

Now Tech Crunch reports that HQ Trivia has laid off about 20% of its staff, leaving the company with less than 30 employees. Business Insider has reached out to HQ Trivia in an attempt to confirm the layoffs.

Meanwhile, monthly downloads of the HQ Trivia app dropped by nearly 92% in June compared to 2018, based on data from the analyst group SensorTower.

Read more: Mistrust, secret memos, and boardroom drama — inside the chaos at HQ Trivia after its young cofounder’s sudden death

HQ Trivia is now gearing up to test a new subscription-based business model. A tweet from the HQ Words spin-off app said the company will introduce a new monthly subscription for HQ Words in July, which will let subscribers compete for cash prizes each day.


All of HQ Trivia’s games have been available for free since the app launched in August 2017. The app currently offers three different games, HQ Trivia, HQ Sports, and HQ Words. HQ Trivia has a minimum prize of $2,500 but prize pools have reached up to $300,000 for a single game. Winnings are typically shared between multiple users, which significantly decreases the amount of money each winner receives.

Season four of HQ Trivia launched in May, promising users more prize money and more ways to win. The new season also introduced a new lineup of hosts, with Matt Richards replacing Rogowsky as the main HQ Trivia host, Anna Roisman taking over as host of HQ Words, and Lauren Gambino as host of HQ Sports. Sharon Carpenter is also on the team as a fill-in host.

SEE ALSO: Mistrust, secret memos, and boardroom drama — inside the chaos at HQ Trivia after its young cofounder’s sudden death

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: I switched from the $1,099 iPhone XS Max to the $479 Pixel 3a XL — and I didn’t miss much