From Argentina to the World: 5 Startup Lessons From Trivia Crack

Over 77 billion questions have been answered on Trivia Crack, a mobile game that allows users to compete with each other by answering trivia questions. In 2013, Etermax, a small Argentina-based game company, released Trivia Crack into the already crowded market for mobile games.

Over the past few years, Trivia Crack has become a sensation. The game has already surpassed 300 million downloads. According to analyst firm Newzoo, the company has earned over $100,000,000 from Trivia Crack, and they receive over $10,000 a day on app stores around the world.

Surprisingly, the company was able to keep Trivia Crack in the top ranks of the app stores at the beginning without using paid advertising or paying for user acquisition. All of the content on the app is made by users as well – meaning the success of Trivia Crack has been completely organic.

Here are five lessons any startup can take away from Trivia Crack’s wildly successful rise to the top.

Lesson #1: Quality content comes first

The key to Trivia Crack's initial success, claimed Etermax's Founder and CEO Maximo Cavazzani in a Forbes interview, was focusing on the game’s content first.

"Our approach to the game was content first," he said. "The quality and quantity of content have made it last so long. There’s one user who’s answered over 622,000 questions! That highlights the dimension of the game - you can answer questions all your life, and it will never end. New questions keep coming out."

The company keeps new content coming by tapping its user base. Players from all around the world can submit questions to Etermax, and the company has a rating system to filter them for quality. Users can also rate active questions, giving the company a constant stream of feedback on the questions in the app.

The company used to create content in-house, but Cavazzani said the user-based system became so good that they didn't need to do that anymore. Today, users are submitting questions at a rate of about one million questions per day.

Having a good product comes first. Without that, you cannot expect viral success.

Lesson #2: Always keep innovating

Trivia Crack recently celebrated its fourth anniversary and a milestone of reaching 300 million users. With this milestone, the company continues to release new features, such as missions, tournaments, and in-game perks. People who participate in missions can win awards during tournaments. There are also new frames and in-game gifts, such as free coin packs and a bonus roulette spin at the end of each round. Etermax is also planning to roll out an animated TV series featuring Trivia Crack characters.

All of these new features showcase the importance of keeping your products or services fresh and exciting for users. The mobile app market is incredibly competitive, and your team must always keep innovating if your app is going to survive.

Lesson #3: Listen to your users

One of Trivia Crack’s keys to success was its “Question Factory.” The “Question Factory” allowed users from all around the world to submit questions, eliminating the need for the company to create the content themselves. The questions are self-rated, giving the users the power to control the content. Trivia Crack’s software only monitors and updates the system.

"Back in 2013, when the game launched, it was a shock to traditional trivia brands that this Argentinian studio launched a unique format that generated more money than their famous brands with pre-determined content," said Peter Warman, the CEO of Newzoo. "It reshaped our thinking about what entertainment is (consumer-driven versus publisher-driven) and what consumers enjoy doing."

Companies get input from everyone -- investors, mentors, board members, etc., but the real people to listen to are the users; they’re the ones engaging with the app every day.

Lesson #4: Adapt to each local market

Trivia Crack has been downloaded in over 180 countries and has been translated into 22 languages so far. However, Etermax's focus on local culture and experiences with its questions has been leading factor in its popularity around the world.

"One thing that happened when we launched in the U.S. [in 2015] was that its first users were Spanish-speaking that also spoke English, but native English speakers didn’t do as many questions," said Cavazzani. "We realized one reason for that is there was too much soccer. And we needed to tweak questions to use inches, rather than centimeters. We just generally needed to be more culturally aware. When we did that, it got pretty big."

Trivia Crack would adapt to each country, understanding what worked and what didn’t work. They learned which topics would be more popular or more polarizing for each local audience. This helped the company adapt to each new market and realize the importance of monitoring the little things that can affect an entire market’s perception.

Lesson #5: Think global from day one

In an interview with VentureBeat, Cavazzani pointed out that, “Many entrepreneurs in Latin America are just looking at the Latin American market. Ideally, your market should be the world. That puts you in a position where you have to compete with the giants like King, Supercell, and Zynga. You need quality and a commitment to excellence.”

For most Latin American startups, it’s important to think global from day one, rather than focus all efforts on one regional market, especially as the competition from other global companies trying to penetrate Latin American markets heats up.

Starting up from a country like Argentina and competing in the global marketplace is no small feat. However, with an innovative idea and the right approach, expanding beyond Latin America is possible and is one of the best ways to tap into a larger consumer base and reach your goals faster.