Iceland trivia app startup a hit in the gaming world

A small Icelandic startup is proving a huge success in the gaming world, so much so it is now turning down offers to quit Iceland and head to California’s Silicon Valley.

Last week the company, Plain Vanilla, launched the Android version of its trivia app, QuizUp, which already boasts some 10 million users who have played over a billion games on their iPads and iPhones. Venture capitalists have already invested over $30m in the company.

Thor Fridriksson, the founder and CEO of the company, said he wants to ensure Iceland remains the company’s base, partly because he wants to prove what can be achieved despite the economic problems the country has faced.

He explained that Iceland has endured a difficult time since the collapse of its three biggest banks in 2008. However, he said if his company remains in Iceland, creates job opportunities and shows other small startups that anything is possible, then it will be a positive thing.

Iceland’s three largest lenders collapsed in August 2008, sending its economy spiralling into freefall. Following the crash, the currency depreciated, businesses closed and unemployment shot up to record levels. The country has still not fully recovered.

Plain Vanilla started off life with just seven employees; now there are 45, noted Fridriksson. There are more than 400 categories to choose from on QuizUp, with questions on topics such as pop, sport and history. Among the most popular categories are Disney, Celebrities, Spelling and Harry Potter.