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HQ Trivia's parent company appoints Tinder CEO to its board

Updated 12:25 AM ET, Mon February 11, 2019

New York (CNN Business) - The owner of the HQ Trivia mobile game is expanding its board of directors as the startup tries to recover from the sudden death of CEO Colin Kroll last December.

The company, Intermedia Labs, is adding Tinder CEO Elie Seidman to the board of directors.

Right now the only other board members are co-founder and current CEO Rus Yusupov and early investor Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners. But Intermedia is looking to add additional directors in the near future.

Seidman brings years of experience in growing apps and websites into profitable businesses. Before taking over Tinder, he was the CEO of OkCupid, and before that, Oyster.com.

In a statement to CNN Business, Seidman praised Yusupov as a "uniquely talented product thinker and visionary."

"Rus and the Intermedia team have created a truly important innovation in HQ," Seidman said.

HQ Trivia launched with a bang in 2017, drawing a huge mobile viewership for group quiz games. Players who answered all 12 questions correctly shared in the day's pot of money.

In HQ Trivia, some media executives saw the future of game shows — and maybe more. Disney and Comcast are two of the startup's investors.

But Intermedia has been dogged by questions about whether it can become more than a one-hit, one-year wonder. While some quizzes still draw upward of 500,000 simultaneous viewers, growth has stalled.

Kroll and Yusupov, who previously co-founded Vine, worked together on the app, with Yusupov initially serving as CEO.

But as HQ's prominence "died down, disagreements between its founders and investors have started to increase," Recode reported last fall.

According to the report, Liew moved to replace Yusupov with Kroll as CEO. In September the change took effect and Yusupov became "chief creative officer." The only other board member at the time, Cyan Banister, gave up her board seat amid the conflict.

Kroll was CEO for three months before he was found dead in his New York City apartment.

Earlier this month, the Medical Examiner's office ruled his death an accident and blamed "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine," according to local news reports.

Yusupov resumed CEO duties. And Seidman's arrival on the board is the first management change since Kroll's death.

"His experience and perspective will help us navigate the opportunities ahead," Yusupov said in a statement.

While trying to grow HQ Trivia with tweaks to the game and advertiser tie-ins, Intermedia is also launching other games, including a "Wheel of Fortune" type app called HQ Words.

It came out in late December, shortly after Kroll's death, and it is located within the main HQ app.

HQ Trivia, meantime, has substituted cash prizes for points on some of its daily games, but the points can be used to gain an advantage during the cash jackpot games.


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