Clubhouse has ‘millions more on waiting list’ after Android launch: CEO

The Clubhouse social audio app was growing at a feverish pace before it wasn’t. It seems to be growing back quite quickly and this time it is better suited for it, according to co-founder and CEO Paul Davison.

Earlier this year, the number of monthly app installs worldwide had dropped by millions, from a peak of more than 9 million in February, and by April, installs reached 900,000. But since launching a version of Android this month, Clubhouse has seen a million Android users join, and Davison says “a million more are on the waiting list.”

“We hope to be ready to let in more soon,” Davison told CNBC on Tuesday after the social media company ranked 33rd on CNBC’s 2021 Disruptor 50 list.

Davison said that when he and co-founder Ronan Seth started the company in March 2020, they believed a “measured approach to growth” was key.

“If it grows too fast, things can break down and, earlier this year, we start to grow faster than expected,” Davison said.

Clubhouse had servers going down and notifications wouldn’t go out, and the CEO said the company “really had to slow things down.”

Clubhouse reports on more than 10 million weekly active users and says that more than 300,000 rooms are created each day and that people spend more than an hour a day on the app.

In virtual rooms, users can see a list of the people participating and if they click on the room, the audio turns on and they can hear the conversation.

“It’s often about people in small towns in the United States, Japan and Nigeria, who never had the opportunity to speak to people in these regions,” Davison said.

A prominent example is the more than 450,000 people who have passed through his “Meet Palestinians and Israelis” room in the course of just over a week.

“They are meeting people on the ground,” Davison emphasized. “These are not political experts, they are talking to mothers, teachers and merchants.”

The invitation-only audio chat social media app Clubhouse is displayed on a smartphone on January 26, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.

Thomas Trutschel | Photothek | fake images

Clubhouse is not just about participating and listening to conversations.

It expects money to be generated from ticketing events in the future and already offers creators the ability to receive one-time tips as well as charge for subscriptions. The current payments are those for which Clubhouse does not take any cuts – 100% goes to the creators on the platform. That’s distinct from other popular creator platforms, like Patreon, which is ranked 48th on this year’s Disruptor 50 list, which takes a share of creator-generated revenue, as well as a transaction fee.

In April, Clubhouse began implementing payments and currently all iOS users in the US can send and receive payments. Payments will reach more Android devices and other countries this summer.

The company’s audio-only social app is somewhat similar to podcasts, but different in terms of offering live, unfiltered content. Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify have introduced similar ideas and are making strategic acquisitions to capitalize on the trend.

Amid concerns about slowing user growth and competition from big tech companies, Davison says: “Voice is the oldest medium… We have been meeting other people in small groups and talking since the beginning of civilization… Voice is an enduring medium ”.

Clubhouse was backed by renowned venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (whose co-founder also speaks on the app from time to time) in a January funding round that reportedly valued it at $ 1 billion. In March, Clubhouse raised a new round of venture capital valuing the company at $ 4 billion.

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