Social app Clubhouse raises new funding and plans to launch payment features for creators

The social media market is super competitive and growing a successful platform in the space from scratch is challenging – just ask Apple.

But in less than 12 months, Clubhouse, an invite-only iPhone app based around voice (audio) rather than visual posts, is nearing a 1 billion dollar valuation.

That’s according to a report in The Information published on Friday (January 22), which, citing four people familiar with the matter, writes that the upstart platform’s founders have been approached by VC firms ‘about leading its potential next round of funding at a roughly $1 billion valuation’. 

Clubhouse was launched in March 2020 by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth and is described as “a space for casual, drop-in audio conversations – with friends and other interesting people around the world”.

In their own words, published in a blog post on Sunday (January 24), “the app has accelerated quickly over the past ten months – from a small handful of beta testers into a diverse and growing network of communities”.

Davison and Seth confirmed in their blog post that they’ve secured a new round of funding but didn’t state the value. They did reveal, however, that Clubhouse now has over 180 investors.

The new funding round is being led by Andrew Chen at Andreessen Horowitz, according to Davison and Seth. Chen also led the company’s Series A round in May last year when the company was valued at $100 million.

Davison and Seth revealed on Sunday that just in the past week alone, 2 million people used the app worldwide, including “musicians, scientists, creators, athletes, comedians, parents, entrepreneurs, stock traders, non-profit leaders, authors, artists, real estate agents, sports fans and more”.

The platform’s founders write that they plan to use the new funds “to make the product better each day and to help creators on Clubhouse thrive”.

In order to do that, they plan to launch tests over the coming months that will see creators paid directly via the likes of tipping, ticketing or subscription fees.

Clubhouse will also be launching a Creator Grant Program to support emerging creators on the platform.

“Creators are the lifeblood of Clubhouse, and we want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions.”

Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, Clubhouse

“Creators are the lifeblood of Clubhouse, and we want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions,” said Clubhouse co-founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth.

“Over the next few months, we plan to launch our first tests to allow creators to get paid directly—through features like tipping, tickets or subscriptions.

“We will also be using a portion of the new funding round to roll out a Creator Grant Program to support emerging Clubhouse creators.”

 “We look forward to partnering with the Clubhouse team and helping build its community, product, and business.”

Andrew Chen, Andreessen Horowitz

Confirming the investment in a separate blog post, Andrew Chen wrote: “In a social media landscape that typically compels you to spend hours staring at a screen – often distractedly flitting between multiple screens – Clubhouse lets you multitask while you listen.

“Like podcasts, you can listen while you take a walk, fold laundry, or work out. It can also be the centerpiece of your evening, like attending a lecture or talk. But it’s also interactive, so if you have something to say, you can raise your hand and chime in.

“Because you’re listening to people talk, Clubhouse is about a real-time exchange of ideas, not just consuming highly-edited, static content. It’s a fresh experience that brings humanity and context to online social engagement.”

Added Chen: “We look forward to partnering with the Clubhouse team and helping build its community, product, and business. There’s a lot still to do to bring Clubhouse to every corner of the world and continually broaden the topics people might want to speak to or listen to. It’s going to be an exciting ride.Music Business Worldwide