As the status symbols come and go, the clubhouse invitation ranked quite high over the past year. But the velvet rope is coming down: Starting Wednesday, everyone will be able to download the voice chat app, a significant new figure for the year-old startup as it competes with the high expectations placed on it by investors and high-profile users.
“The conversation is going to be so much good, and we wanted it to be more in the world,” Clubhouse founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth write in a new blog post. “We’ve been able to grow the clubhouse in a measured way and (mostly 😬) prevent things from breaking when we’re scaled. But we’ve always wanted the Clubhouse to be open.”
The clubhouse began operations in March 2020 as an invitation only, but nonetheless became the Silicon Valley Elite Overnight hit, providing them with a unique place to gather during a pandemic. A month later, it had 5,000 users – and $ 100 million appreciation thanks to Andreessen Horowitz. A year later, its valuation had risen to $ 4 billion, according to PitchBook, and the app had become a place to be heard, attracting celebrities like Drake and Oprah as well as business lights like Mark Cuban and even rival Mark Zuckerberg.
Despite limited access, the app has been downloaded more than 20 million times since its debut, half as of Android users in the last two months, according to new data released Wednesday and Sensor Tower data. Every day, users create 500,000 public and private rooms – places in the app to hold voice chats – which is almost 70% more than in May. People seem to like what they hear: The average clubhouse user spends more than an hour a day on the platform. About 90 million direct messages have been sent through the app since the company was launched last week.
While the Clubhouse has proven successful during a pandemic, it faces a turbulent future. The world is returning to its normal social model: leaving the house, seeing people face to face. When these many types of interactions were impossible or wise during Covid-19 locks, Clubhouse offered them a replacement. It remains if users approach the site with the same enthusiasm now that these interactions are possible again.
It is also unclear where the Clubhouse wants to come from. A place for what mainly for live podcasts? Way towards virtual meetings? Some combination of the two seems most likely. The clubhouse is still mapping the path to commercialization as well. It looks like it is ready to follow the leadership of other social networks and eventually start surgery revenue generated by popular users platform, for example through ticket discussions and digital tips. If the doors are opened to the public, in theory, these audiences and revenue streams could grow greatly.
And while the Clubhouse is a leader in the emerging class of sound social networks, it is not far alone. Twitter quickly launched a competing feature in its application. Facebook is reportedly one, as well as Spotify. The growing rivarly was particularly relieved when loose founder Stewart Butterfield accepted a place to speak in the clubhouse room and announced Slack’s intention to add the cat feature of the Clubhouse copy to his chat software.