The audio social network Clubhouse, which now brings together nearly 2 million users per week, wants to move up a gear with a fundraiser that could value it at nearly a billion dollars.
“We now want to open Clubhouse to the world,” founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth said in a statement on Sunday, announcing a new fundraiser, led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Clubhouse was launched in March, confidentially, in the test phase. In May, aided by containment measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the live audio conferencing and conversations platform was visited by some 1,500 users, and estimated at $ 100 million.
It is now backed by 180 investors, according to the bosses, and this funding round could bring it closer to a valuation of one billion dollars, according to the exclusive news site The Information.
The funds are to allow Clubhouse to work on an app for Android (Google) – it’s only available on iOS (Apple), by invitation, for now.
The network also wants to scale up in terms of computer servers to avoid error messages when busy, and improve service in general, from technical support to search functions to help users find groups and ” virtual trade shows that interest them.
Above all, the platform plans to test different methods of remunerating creators, that is to say the people who organize the different “pieces”, invite their friends or even host more or less interactive weekly shows.
Clubhouse plans to have them paid directly by users, via donations, tickets or subscriptions.
“They are the heart and soul of the product,” said Andrew Chen, investor of Andreessen Horowitz, in a statement.
“The team has added options to more easily moderate lounges and clubs, and are working on a business model that benefits all players as the community grows,” he said. “This orientation contrasts with the usual model of social networks, based on advertising. The experience is centered around community and quality, rather than clicks and volume ”.
With growth and opening up to a wider audience, the platform must also prepare for the problems facing Facebook, Twitter and all the others: the moderation of illegal or problematic content and comments.
“A certain degree of conflict and misunderstanding is undoubtedly inevitable,” acknowledges Andrew Chen. “The team is committed (…) to building a safe space so that people can be heard.”