Clubhouse is an app where a select few venture capitalists began mingling with each other last year during the lockdown while being quarantined at home. Since then, it’s become Silicon Valley’s obsession and has been a talking point of late. However, just a few thousand people around the world, including celebs such as Oprah Winfrey, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Hart, among others have access to this platform. Few celebrities such as MC Hammer or activists like DeRay Mckesson, who were allowed to join the early test version, have even tweeted about it.
For now, social networking app based on audio-chat, which has been around since March 2020, is invite-only. Those having access to the app can hear conversations, interviews and discussions on various topics. It’s similar to tuning in to a podcast but live and with an added layer of exclusivity.
How to get the app?
Clubhouse can be downloaded from the app store. You need to create an account. However, you need to be invited to join by an existing member.
After joining, you get to choose topics of interest — tech, books, business, health etc. The app will recommend conversation rooms or individuals to follow or join based on how much information you provide about your interests.
Inside the conversation room, it looks like a conference call is on — the only difference being very few people are talking, while are listening. Once the conversation is over, the room is closed.
How to get an invite?
An existing Clubhouse user has to send an invite giving you access to set up an account. Having said that, Clubhouse users can’t send an invite to anyone who wants to join — existing users have only two invites available initially, so they have to choose prudently.
In 2021, the creators of Clubhouse — Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth — want to complete the app’s beta stage, so they can eventually open up the app to the whole world.
What has Elon Musk got to do with it?
In May 2020, Clubhouse had just 1,500 users and was worth $100 million. However, a few days ago, Elon Musk hosted an audio-chat on the app with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. This event burst the app into the mainstream and people started talking about it. The event was live-streamed to YouTube. It propelled Clubhouse to the top of the start-up charts and, soon, there was a scramble for invitations, with people wanting to be a part of the exclusive app. As on February 1, Clubhouse has two million users. Having raised new funding, the start-up is now valued at $1 billion. It’s considered a Unicorn start-up such as AirBnb, Uber and SpaceX.
Demand soars in China
A few days ago, a Reuters report stated that that demand for membership was hot in mainland China and rising. The report added that the app was uncensored by authorities in China despite flourishing discussions on rights, national identity and other sensitive topics.
E-commerce sites are offering people the chance to buy invites. On a few platforms such as Xianyu and Taobao invite codes are being sold for between 150 and 400 yuan ($23 and $61).