Remember that viral trivia game? HQ Trivia?


Emailed on April 19th, 2019 in The Friday Forward

Yeah, that company is a $h** show. To put it bluntly. 

According to multiple sources, more than half of the startup’s staff signed an internal petition to depose CEO Rus Yusupov, whom they saw as mismanaging the company. But Yusupov then fired some core supporters of the mutiny, leading to a downward spiral of morale that mirrors HQ’s plummeting App Store rank.

For the uninitiated, HQ reimagined gaming and mobile entertainment with the launch of its 12-question trivia game in August 2017, where players all competed live in twice-daily shows; anyone who got all the answers right split a cash jackpot.

When TechCrunch wrote the first coverage of HQ Trivia in October 2017, it had just 3,500 concurrent players. But by January it had climbed to the No. 3 game and No. 6 overall app in the App Store, and grown to 2.38 million players by March.

Much of this success was credited to comedian Scott Rogowsky, the host of HQ Trivia games.

A long, Game of Thrones-esque struggle for who will be CEO of HQ Trivia (that you can read here), led Rogowsky to pick up a side gig hosting baseball talk show ChangeUp on the DAZN network, TMZ reported this week. 

He’d hoped to continue hosting HQ during its big weekend contests. But tensions with Yusupov and the CEO’s desire for the host to remain exclusively at HQ led negotiations to sour, causing Rogowsky to leave the startup entirely.

Sean Steigerwald