Colin Kroll, co-founder of the Vine video app and the HQ Trivia game, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment early Sunday of an apparent drug overdose, Variety has confirmed. He was 35.
New York Police Department officers responded at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, to a call by Kroll‘s girlfriend who was concerned about him. The police found him unresponsive in his SoHo residence and EMS staff pronounced him dead at the scene. An NYPD rep said the department is awaiting results of the medical examiner’s report to determine cause of death but confirmed that drugs appeared to be involved. Police found Kroll‘s body surrounded by drug paraphernalia, TMZ reported.
Kroll‘s latest venture was HQ Trivia, where he served as CEO of the company he co-founded with Rus Yusupov. HQ Trivia became a viral hit after launching in the summer of 2017 as a live-streaming game show that doles out real cash to player — a format that’s been widely copied. Reps for HQ Trivia and Yusupov did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Kroll and Yusupov also were two of the founders of six-second video app Vine, along with Dom Hofmann. Vine was acquired in October 2012, prior to its public launch, by Twitter — which then shut down Vine about four years later. In 2014, Vine was a recipient of Variety’s Breakthrough in Technology Awards.
Kroll had been Vine’s general manager for a few months before he was fired by Twitter in 2014. In a statement earlier this year, Kroll acknowledged that “I was let go from Vine four years ago for poor management… 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.”
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When HQ Trivia was trying to raise funding more than a year ago, the company was turned down by some venture capitalists who were wary of Kroll‘s “alleged bad behavior,” which included “‘creepy’ behavior toward women that made them uncomfortable,” according to a Recode report that cited anonymous sources.
Before co-founding Vine, Kroll was CTO of the Gilt Groupe’s JetSetter travel site and mobile app where he also worked with worked with Yusupov and Hofmann.
Kroll studied computer science at Oakland University in southeastern Michigan, according to his profile on Crunchbase.
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