No startup has ever grown as fast as Clubhouse at this stage of its development. At six months they reached 600,000 users, and now they are at 2 million. The audio-based social app is currently only available to Apple users, but once Clubhouse hits Android I can imagine a 3x growth in users.
Clubhouse 101: Based in San Francisco, Clubhouse is an invite-only audio platform that provides forums for casual, live conversations with people from around the world. The platform, created by Alpha Exploration Co. and launched in March of 2020, allows users to join or listen to conversations ranging from branding strategy and space travel to philosophy and gaming.
Unicorn upgrade: As recently as December, Clubhouse was valued at $100 million. The company’s recent funding round of about $100 million — led by Andreessen Horowitz — valued the company at $1 billion, representing a tenfold boost as momentum for alternative social media grows.
Days after earning a staggering $1 billion valuation, Clubhouse announced plans to offer users and indie hackers alike a variety of products to monetize their content. At the moment, Clubhouse isn't a profitable app — like Uber, Lyft, and others — but leave it to Silicon Valley to manufacture demand.
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Indie opportunities: Clubhouse contends that creators are its “lifeblood,” and over the next few months, the company plans to test creator payment systems through features like tipping, tickets, or subscriptions. Clubhouse also plans to use part of its new funding round to launch a Creator Grant Program to support emerging Clubhouse creators.
What they’re saying: Some — like Tae Kim of Bloomberg — are already claiming that Clubhouse could bump out TikTok as the next “social media star” as the company has reaped remarkable success in only 10 months. With its invite-only approach, Clubhouse's exclusive appeal is reminiscent of Facebook’s initial Ivy-only user base.
The COVID-19 pandemic has afforded many consumers more time at home for social media, prompting the question of whether Clubhouse will succeed after people can more frequently leave their homes. There’s also an array of examples of social apps — including Vine, Meerkat, Yik Yak, and Google+ — that have rapidly swelled and then quickly deflated.
Clubhouse’s rapid success also can serve as a useful guide for indie hackers looking for growth hacking ideas. Indie Hackers member @malavwarke has a great rundown of 11 insights on how Clubhouse successfully created a network effect with its growth strategies, including its exclusivity, endorsements, social currency, and more.
Proactive on moderation: Clubhouse has firmly stated that it will not allow abuse, racism, religious intolerance, sexism, and hate speech. Clubhouse says moderation is a “critical area of investment” as it works to create tools and policies that account for the unique dynamics of real-time voice conversations.
Will social media giants replicate Clubhouse? After Snapchat’s story function was copied by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, some are beginning to wonder if incumbent social media will attempt to squash Clubhouse by replicating it. In December, Twitter launched its Spaces feature, which seems to be an attempt to duplicate Clubhouse’s offering. We’ll see if Facebook, Instagram, and others will follow next.
Do you use Clubhouse? What are your thoughts on the platform? Do you think it has long-term viability? Please share your thoughts.