The Newest Silicon Valley Unicorn, Clubhouse Raises $100 Million And Additionally Raises Consideration To The Significance Of Audio-Primarily based Social Networking
Hello via @Joinclubhouse
Based in San Francisco Clubhouse, an emerging audio social network, raised $ 100 million, led by Andreessen Horowitz, with a post-money valuation of $ 1 billion. Silicon Valley’s newest unicorn, just under a year old, has digirati, influencers, industry experts, and those looking for a coveted invitation to join the exclusive club abuzz.
Clubhouse was founded in March 2020 by Silicon Valley friends Paul Davison and Rohan Seth and aims to connect people to one another in “meaningful conversations” via a drop-in audio platform. In June 2020 my friend Ben Parr suggested giving Clubhouse a try. Then in an extremely limited private beta, I thought it would be next to impossible to buy time for another social platform.
As a former member of private clubs like Soho House and The Battery, I was cautious about joining any other “exclusive” club. The promise was clear right from the start. At the time, the finite users were hosting audio rooms where the conversations focused on startup and technical innovation, COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter (BLM).
Within a few weeks, I was following conversations led by an incredible number of successful entrepreneurs who shared their stories and advice, such as Alexis Ohanian, Ev Williams, Scooter Braun, and Ashton Kutcher. I also followed conversations that were held by celebrities like Wiz Khalifa, Ava DuVernay, Tiffany Haddish, and Kevin Hart that were not about celebrities at all. That didn’t feel hierarchical. It felt like a community. And none of that was a waste of time. Right from the start I was engrossed in deep, philosophical and raw conversations.
I couldn’t stop listening. Ask anyone who uses Clubhouse and I bet they’ll say the same.
Unlike other social networks, I shared less and listened more, connecting room by room to a variety of topics. I also actively participated in rooms devoted to metaconversations about the clubhouse itself, how the platform could improve, and how to grow while keeping conversation and engagement intimate. Co-founder Paul Davidson often takes part in these discussions to listen, learn and share his ideas. I admire that about Paul.
Clubhouse home screen
Does the world need another social network?
If you can join in a live conversation on a topic, you’ll be delighted on-call anywhere in the world and have the opportunity not only to hear from, but also work with, some of the brightest people on the topic. would you?
That is the premise (and the promise) of Clubhouse.
It’s reminiscent of the early days of Twitter. In 2006 or 2007 I said that news broke no more, but tweets. It was exciting and unprecedented to be part of a human seismograph that plotted real-time trends, conversations, randomnesses and events around the world. Twitter quickly became a real-time virtual water cooler, a kind of digital wild west where the platform’s value was created by its developers. Curatorsand consumers. It’s where that #Hashtag was created! And those conversations spilled over into the real world, sparking tweet-ups, Twitter-hosted conferences, movements, and revolutions.
The clubhouse now feels like it was in the early days of Twitter. Ultimately, it will grow more than the current two million active users it now hosts. Live video, podcasts, and conferences will include clubhouse panels or broadcast on the platform, and reputable FOMO will attract people to participate online in a way that feels more productive and enjoyable than on other networks.
The clubhouse is a live conversation and everyone can participate in their own way
At a time when live events were being postponed, canceled or virtualized due to the global pandemic, Clubhouse came and did what other networks or virtual events couldn’t to bring together a group of enthusiastic, informed, curious and open-minded people about industrial and talk about social trends and work together.
Jeremiah OwyangA well-known and highly respected tech analyst, longtime friend and neighbor, as well as my original guide to Clubhouse found that Clubhouse was launched at the right time.
“The Clubhouse Chat app is the perfect quarantine app,” he stated. “People, isolated and lonely, try to connect on a human level. When conferences, bars, and vacations are canceled, people can have meaningful conversations that are more empathetic than text-based social networks, but don’t run the risk of video fatigue. The absolutely simple functions make it easy for users to get on board and also do multiple tasks, cleaning the house or preparing dinner. “
At a time when working from home, everyone struggles with video fatigue and struggle digital burnoutClubhouse introduced a new experience that, like Twitter, captured its modern zeitgeist with early adopters.
Main investor of the SignalFire early stage fund, former TechCrunch Editor-At-Large and good friend Josh Constine described its rabid appeal as follows: “The clubhouse became theQuarantine User Loans‘that helped him build his initial critical mass of concurrent listeners while everyone was stuck at home. But it’s big enough to survive repaying that loan after COVID. “
The concurrent user quarantine loan for synchronous apps
Moving Product Newsletter, Josh Constine
Indeed, Clubhouse was a blessing when it launched early on from shelter-in-place orders, and Clubhouse is still benefiting from COVID’s unwanted staying power.
The clubhouse recreates the magic of your favorite meetings on the small screen
When you find the right people in the right room, the clubhouse is as whimsical as it is invigorating. It can be refreshingly productive when other networks feel drained. It can be inspiring. It’s also pretty nostalgic, in the best possible way. If you don’t like a room, feel free to hand it out.
For those at the forefront of the rise of social media, you will likely remember the excitement, hope, and eagerness to learn, share, and grow together. Like you, I insatiable participated in the beginnings of user-generated conferences and unconferences like BarCamp and “Lobby Cons” and even organized commercial events like the Web 2.0 Summit, South by Southwest, TED, LeWeb and most of the overwhelming attendees conferences that the rise of Web 2.0, the app economy and beyond. Together they have shaped the Internet, our personal and professional relationships and career paths and each captured their zeitgeist in their own way.
There was magic in the air and in the web. These connections were digital and social gravity.
Events like SXSW still carry that magic. Every year, people from all walks of life at all levels submit panels and lectures to be part of Geek Spring Break in Austin and will do it again once we defeat COVID. You know the exercise. Requests for “Vote for my talk” fill out social media, which will result in “Attend my talk …” as the event approaches. The lines still curve around the convention center and hotel hallways or around blocks for outdoor events so those can participate in meaningful conversations.
What these early social platforms and live events have in common is chance, connection, learning and sharing.
This is what the clubhouse feels like right now. It’s all of these things with the potential to be so much more.
Owyang helped explain why.
“Text-based social networks lack the human connection that we miss during isolation. Live video is decreasing, the forced attention of staring into a lifeless camera, and two dimensions are exhausting,” he said. “The clubhouse chat app belongs to the Goldilocks category during quarantine. This is the perfect mix of voice-based emotions and yet less strenuous.”
Conversations and connections are currencies in the clubhouse.
Like Twitter’s interest rate chart or the Facebook and Instagram social chart, Constine crafted Clubhouse’s unique value proposition, “The Clubhouse Conversation Chart,” as he explained. It represents a different group of people to follow than on Twitter or Instagram – people who want to hear they haven’t had written conversations about their expertise – so these other apps can’t copy their experiences even if they clone their features . “
Constine’s point is something that Clubhouse already needs to consider. Competition is inevitable.
For example, Twitter is working on it Twitter Spaces, a clubhouse-like feature that allows groups to gather together using voice calls. During the limited beta, Twitter is making big strides. The company recently acquired Breaker with the team, especially friend and trailblazer Leah Culver, who is solely focused on building Twitter Spaces to compete directly with Clubhouse.
With the global launch of vaccines, the loneliness of COVID-19 and the unique conditions that propel Clubhouse’s growth are limited at this stage. The world will open up again. The race for post-pandemic relevance is really starting now.
This is something that Owyang also considered.
“Clubhouse’s future remains unclear as growth will continue to accelerate to meet funding expectations. Expect users to decline as the world returns to physical personal events, warmer weather and resumed vacations,” he advised. “Right now Clubhouse has our attention.”
And right now it seems to have our attention, a lot of it, and it also represents an insatiable thirst for meaningful fellowship and engagement, especially in the face of the chaos and devastation that is in the form of disinformation, political theater, and sharing across other social networks.
The clubhouse appears to be focused for now, using its newly brought in investments to scale, open the door to more invitations, improve ranking and discovery, and invest in a creator economy as well.
After all the years of innovation in social networking, filters, augmented reality, live video, etc., an audio and drop-in audio chat app was required to remind us that meaningful connections and online conversations, that go beyond clout are really important.