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‘I think Clubhouse grew way, way too fast earlier this year’: CEO

Audio-only app Clubhouse, meant to be a virtual conference hall during the peak of the pandemic, generated a lot of excitement and got a $4 billion value early this year, which appears to have subsided in the months following then, said Clubhouse chief executive officer Paul Davison.

Speaking from a conference held by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Davison stated: ‘Boy, I think we grew way, way too fast earlier this year. What we really want to do is be on that path of steady, gradual growth.’

In April, Bloomberg reported that Twitter Inc. was in discussions to buy Clubhouse for $4 billion. Later that month, the company got a fresh round of investment sponsored by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which valued it at the same amount as Clubhouse had in January.

Clubhouse allows users to create their own online radio shows. Listeners can engage in live chats and hear interviews or panel discussions. Elon Musk of Tesla Inc. and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Inc. have also appeared on the platform, which has spurred copycat applications.

However, Clubhouse has failed to police misbehaviour on the app at times, garnering criticism for not doing enough to combat antisemitism and other issues.

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Despite launching its iOS app on the Android platform in late spring, the company witnessed a slowdown in downloads. Still, more than 10 million Android installations have been reported since the launch.

According to Davison, Clubhouse’s fast expansion early on certainly strained the system, causing the eight-person firm to hustle to hire rapidly. He estimates that Clubhouse now employs around 80 people. ‘Paying creators is something we should absolutely be thinking about,’ Davison added.

When asked if the firm expects a decline in users when people return to their regular lives, Davison said he sees possibilities in individuals listening while commuting. ‘We’re finally at the point where we can take a breath and really focus on the long term, focus on steady growth,’ Davison said.


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