Colin Kroll, the co-founder of popular apps like Vine and HQ Trivia, died Sunday of a suspected drug overdose in New York. Kroll was 34.
HQ Trivia tweeted, “We learned today of the passing of our friend and founder, Colin Kroll, and it’s with deep sadness that we say goodbye. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”
The New York Times reports that police entered Kroll’s apartment after receiving a phone call from a concerned woman. The HQ Trivia CEO was found facedown in bed with substances that appeared to be cocaine and heroin nearby.
Kroll’s fellow HQ Trivia co-founder Rus Yusupov tweeted Sunday, “So sad to hear about the passing of my friend and co-founder Colin Kroll. My thoughts & prayers go out to his loved ones. I will forever remember him for his kind soul and big heart. He made the world and internet a better place. Rest in peace, brother.”
Kroll, Yusupov and co-founder Dom Hofmann launched the popular video looping app Vine in January 2013; less than two years and a $30 million acquisition by Twitter later, the service had over 200 million users. However, Kroll departed the company in 2014 following allegations of inappropriate behavior towards women. (Kroll denied the accusations but admitted, “I now realize that there are things I said and did that made some feel unappreciated or uncomfortable.”) Twitter shuttered Vine in 2016 despite the protests of its fervent users.
Kroll and Yusupov next co-founded HQ Trivia in 2017, an app that hosts a live game show where users could win cash prizes. At its peak in early 2018, the daily games were regularly drawing hundreds of thousands of users and the app was a mainstay near the top of the Apple app store charts, but in recent months the app has faced decreasing popularity and internal struggles that followed Kroll’s appointment as CEO, displacing Yusupov, Recode reported.
In a Rolling Stone interview in March, Yusupov said he hoped he and Kroll’s HQ Trivia marked “the future of TV.” “With Netflix and YouTube and Hulu and these other digital entertainment companies that have emerged in the recent past, it’s all about convenience,” Yusupov saud. “It’s made people really lazy, I think. Personally, I search Netflix for 20 minutes and I end up watching nothing. We’re very deliberately going against that mindset.”