By: Páll Stefánsson

QuizUp is a beautiful, social and highly addictive game. Iceland Review met the man behind it, the CEO and founder of Plain Vanilla, at the company’s HQ in 101 Reykjavík.

Published in the 2014 January-March issue of Iceland Review – IR 01.14. Words and photos by Páll Stefánsson.

“Look” said Þorsteinn (Thor) Baldur Friðriksson, the CEO and founder of Plain Vanilla. “This is what they in the U.S. call the Nordic invasion,” he said showing me today’s Apple store top list. “Our game QuizUp is number two but look, seven of the top ten are from the Nordic countries. Here we have Candy Crush from Sweden, and the best-selling game Clash of Clans from Supercell in Finland, and two Angry Birds games from Rovio, another Finnish company. Nokia’s downturn gave the hi-tech and gaming industry in Finland an enormous boost, with talented people creating their own jobs after being made redundant at the telecommunications giant. Same with Iceland: before the crisis in late 2008, the banks were taking all the good people. I think I would have been a banker today had the banks not collapsed. The crisis has been good in many ways for Iceland.”

QuizUp has been a running success since it was published on November 7. Are you a one hit wonder company like Rovio with Angry Birds?

“Yes and no … we want to be a one hit company like Facebook. And we have grown faster than they have, with three million users after the first three weeks. And now, we have 150,000 new users per day, which means that in two days we added as many people as the whole population of Iceland.”

What about other platforms, the app is only available for iPhone at the moment? “In early 2014 we will be available on all the three big platforms, iOS, Windows and Android, and we are constantly improving the game, adding new topics and questions. Today we have more than one hundred people writing for us and there are more than 200,000 questions.”

You can read the remainder of this article in the January-March issue of Iceland Review – IR 01.14. Five times a year the print edition of Iceland Review & Atlantica brings you a wealth of articles on all aspects of life in Iceland including Páll Stefánsson’s latest images of the country’s majestic landscape.