HQ Trivia made a surprise return on Sunday evening after an anonymous investor brought the company back from the dead.
HQ on Sunday night broadcast its first live trivia game since it shut down and laid off all its staff in mid-February. An anonymous investor helped resurrect the app by providing funding for it to start operating again, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The demand from all of you was unstoppable. The need is greater than ever,” host Matt Richards told thousands of HQ players at the start of Sunday’s show. “Tonight we are back to stay, and staying positive in these unsteady times.”
Richards said he was overjoyed to come back after a seven-week hiatus, and he announced that HQ Trivia will make a $100,000 USD donation to World Central Kitchen, a charity that makes food for people in emergency zones, such as those affected by wildfires or the coronavirus. José Andrés, founder of the charity, came on the show live to thank the company for the donation.
HQ games will start at 9 p.m. Eastern time every night. Players who had banked cash winnings before the app’s hiatus will be able to redeem them this week, Richards said.
The company originally started in 2017, and became popular doing live trivia shows with cash prizes, allowing millions of users to participate in quizzes just like on TV, through their mobile phones. In 2018, the company went through a lot of controversies including employee complaints about aggressive management and co-founder Colin Kroll’s death.
Last month, cofounder Rus Yusupov sent an email to staff stating that the company was shutting down, as “lead investors [were] no longer willing to fund the company.” However, just days later, he tweeted that he had found a potential new investor and the company would be back in action soon.