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Move over, HQ TriviaBigBrain is launching its BigBrain trivia game where you can win real-money prizes. And the company has raised $4.5 million to build it.

The iOS game will let people win up to thousands of dollars in a match, depending on how many people are playing, but they have to pay an entry fee of as little as $1.

The quizzes happen every 15 minutes from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific time. Unlike rival HQ Trivia, the game doesn’t have a live host. And players can pick which matches they want to compete in based on their favorite topics.

The seed round financing for Brooklyn, New York-based Big Brain came from FirstRound Capital, Box Group, Ludlow Ventures, Golden Ventures, and others.

What sets BigBrain apart is a focus on players’ areas of expertise, rather than just general knowledge. Questions are created and fact-checked by teams of experts and protected from cheating using proprietary technology developed specifically for the platform. Players enter to compete for cash pools against thousands of others vying to be the “BigBrain” of topics like Old School Hip Hop, College Football, Snack Foods, or ’90s Movies, said Nik Bonaddio, BigBrain CEO, in an interview with GamesBeat.

“Trivia is the biggest skill game there is. And we’re applying that business model to trivia. You buy into it, and if you win, you could win a lot of money,” he said. “We spent the last year in lockdown building it, and now we’re launching. It’s super exciting.”

How it works

With topics ranging from Basketball to Breakfast Cereal, you can pinpoint the perfect topic for you to show off your knowledge. You pay an entry fee of as low as $1 to compete in live games against other players where winners take home the pot.

You have to answer 12 timed questions as fast as you can. The faster you answer, the more points you win and the better your chances of winning big. You can withdraw your winnings quickly, easily, and securely, Bonaddio said. Each quiz takes maybe 10 minutes to play.

Over the next year the schedule will expand to running quizzes every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day.

Bonaddio founded the company in 2020, as “a company of trivia lovers, for trivia lovers.” Bonaddio was formerly the chief technology officer of Fanduel, which took real-money fantasy sports to the next level in competition with DraftKings.

He promises that the content will be irreverent and that the company will keep the play fair. He said BigBrain’s commitments to social responsibility include working toward being a zero-carbon-emissions company, giving back to communities to endow scholarships and charities, creating good-faith engagement with local regulations, and encouraging (and enforcing) responsible user behavior.

“There are millions of topics,” Bonaddio said. “We’ve been testing this. You could have 1,000 or 5,000 people in a contest. It’s easier to win if you know the topic, and everybody has four or five of those things that they geek out about, like Star Wars or Marvel Comics. We’re letting people monetize that.”

Bonaddio said it may be a few months before an Android version is ready. The company has about 15 people. He’s looking forward to the day when millions of people will play.

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