clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

HQ Trivia raised new funding at a $100 million valuation and its co-founder apologized for his previous bad behavior

HQ raised $15 million in a round Recode first reported was in the works last month.

HQ co-founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll onstage accepting an award
HQ co-founders Rus Yusupov, left, and Colin Kroll
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images for Variety

The startup behind the popular gameshow app HQ Trivia has finalized a new round of funding that values the company at $100 million.

Recode first reported last month that HQ was raising money, and that Founders Fund was planning to lead the round and take a board seat for partner Cyan Banister. That is indeed the case, and the round landed right in the same ballpark we’d heard about back in February: HQ raised $15 million at a $100-million post-money valuation, according to Founders Fund. Axios first reported the final deal terms.

What makes this funding round so interesting, beside the fact that HQ is one of the buzziest consumer apps around, is that the company initially ran into trouble trying to raise back in late November and early December after Silicon Valley venture capitalists caught wind of alleged bad behavior by co-founder Colin Kroll when he was working at Vine.

Kroll and fellow HQ founder Rus Yusupov also co-founded Vine together, but Kroll was fired for being a bad manager from Twitter, which bought Vine in 2012. Former colleagues also alleged that he exhibited creepy behavior toward female colleagues while working there, Recode first reported.

Kroll issued a statement to Axios, his first since Recode’s story was published.

“As reported in the media, I was let go from Vine four years ago for poor management. It was a painful experience, but an eye-opening one that served as a catalyst for professional development and greater awareness in the office. I now realize that there are things I said and did that made some feel unappreciated or uncomfortable. I apologize to those people. Today, I’m committed to building HQ Trivia into a culture-defining product and supporting the dedicated team that makes it all possible.”

A few months ago, some investors were struggling with the idea of funding HQ Trivia because of the alleged behavior and fear of association at a time when many industries are dealing with the fallout from male leaders sexually harassing female colleagues. But Founders Fund did its own investigation into Kroll and evidently felt comfortable moving forward on a deal and putting one of its female partners on the board.

“I believe HQ can grow into the next generation-defining entertainment platform,” Banister wrote in a statement provided to Recode. “I’m excited to support Rus and Colin as they continue executing on their incredibly ambitious vision for the company.”

In an interview with Axios, she added: ”I believe in the spirit of forgiveness.”

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.