12 questions about the future of HQ trivia and its $15M fundraise

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HQ is redefining cell, creating by way of 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 sit up for. By assembling its gamers (generally 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. Considered one of its greatest video games not too long ago noticed 2 million gamers vying for $50,000. Even when a bunch of individuals win and everybody simply will get a bit of 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 often 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 bettering 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 anticipate interstitial adverts between questions. As an alternative, you possibly can think about manufacturers sponsoring questions or offering an even bigger jackpot. HQ might characteristic product placement and even give away these items to runners-up. It might let customers pay for an additional life, as a substitute of simply letting you earn them by way of referrals. Or it might create a particular “Champion’s Version” with greater prizes however that solely paid subscribers can be part of.

5. How does it maintain the sport feeling recent?

HQ has had a number of visitor hosts, like Jimmy Kimmel. However HQties love Scott a lot that individual-question visitor hosts may work higher. Multi-media questions with video or photos might spice issues up. And mini-games through which eradicated gamers can take part might maintain them watching even once they can’t win the jackpot. Occasional themed video games round matters like sports activities or video video games might develop the app’s person 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 not too long ago bought some free pre- and post-Tremendous Bowl commercials because of NBC proprietor Comcast, fueling hypothesis of a partnership. HQ might all the time launch a tv present which may develop its mainstream viewers, however pit it in opposition to tons of different TV recreation reveals. If HQ might determine easy methods to sync a TV and cell model, it might 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 Greenback Hero” from Toutiao, the information app owned by Bytedance that not too long ago acquired Musically. Some even get extra gamers than the unique. HQ has spawned its personal U.Ok. model, but it surely must determine easy methods to divide and conquer the globe earlier than native upstarts field it out. A Spanish or Indian language recreation might show fashionable.

eight. Will it promote to a giant platform?

HQ can be the crown jewel of platforms like Fb Watch or Snapchat Uncover. They’re certainly contemplating easy methods 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 pale away like some fad since its August debut epitomizes the glued-in engagement platforms crave and will make it a pretty acquisition. However that’s additionally why the founders shouldn’t promote. After watching Twitter purchase and squander Vine, Yusupov famously tweeted, “Don’t promote your organization!”

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

We don’t know, however HQ can be sensible to make him a partial proprietor. HQ’s spunky quizzmaster is the face of the model that’s beloved by followers. HQ might take a critical hit if some competitor or tech large 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 grow to be a family-favorite recreation individuals 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 habits towards ladies whereas at Vine, however Banister says she “turned snug after taking a look at every little thing” earlier than investing. Few apps depend on a persona like Rogowski, or encourage such word-of-mouth dialogue, making the startup significantly susceptible to crises. Everybody should be on their finest habits.

11. Can HQ beat the cheats?

The entire recreation falls aside if it doesn’t appear truthful. Some individuals 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 laptop imaginative and prescient might maintain HQ a take a look at of human data.

12. Will HQ keep fashionable?

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 tens of millions of avid gamers chasing tens of 1000’s in prizes, it’s skilled meteoric progress. It ought to actually add some little quiz individuals can attempt once they join in order that they don’t have to attend for the following scheduled recreation. However so long as the engineering retains up with its measurement, the prizes continue to grow and the competitors retains triggering your adrenaline, I believe HQ will thrive. If fewer individuals begin taking part in, your probabilities of successful massive enhance, making a pure barrier to churn. And bear in mind, TV recreation reveals usually run for many years.

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