Clubhouse Live Audio-Chat App Opens to Everyone, Drops Invite Requirement

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Clubhouse is taking down the velvet rope in front of its live audio-chat app.

The startup, which kicked off a social-audio gold rush among bigger companies like Facebook, Spotify and Twitter, on Wednesday announced that Clubhouse is now open to everyone — removing its waitlist system that required an existing user to invite you to the app.

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The new Clubhouse app is out today on iOS and Android, and the company says it will be releasing major new updates every one to two weeks.

“[W]e’ve always wanted Clubhouse to be open. Everyone in the world should have access to meaningful conversations,” founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth wrote in a blog post. “And the best rooms on Clubhouse are the ones where you meet people from far outside your social circle, with very different views and lived experiences, who change your perspective on the world.”

The invite system was an important part of Clubhouse’s early history, according to Davison and Seth.

“By adding people in waves, welcoming new faces each week in our Wednesday Orientations, and talking with the community each Sunday in Town Hall, we’ve been able to grow Clubhouse in a measured way, and (mostly 😬 ) keep things from breaking as we’ve scaled,” they wrote.

Clubhouse, first launched in April 2020 on iOS, hasn’t released figures on number of active users. But it’s hoping to hit a new growth curve by opening up the app to the general public, on the heels of its release of an Android version of the app two months ago.

To date, the Clubhouse app has reached about 29.8 million installs globally across both the Apple App Store and Google Play, according to research firm Sensor Tower. In June, Clubhouse saw about 7.7 million installs (most of which were on Android), up 108% month-over-month from about 3.7 million in May, Sensor Tower says.

Clubhouse’s founders shared other in-house stats, trying to illustrate its momentum in the face of large new competitors. According to Clubhouse, it has topped 10 million downloads on Android in just two months. The average Clubhouse user spend more than 60 minutes per day on the platform. And it claims more than 500,000 rooms are created daily in the app (up from 300,000 in May and 400,000 in June).

In addition, Clubhouse a week ago debuted Backchannel, a direct-message feature. In the first 24 hours after the July 14 launch users sent more than 10 million DMs; in the first week, more than 90 million DMs were sent on the Backchannel.

Clubhouse also unveiled a new logo (pictured above) and a redesigned website. In addition, Davison and Seth announced that Justin “Meezy” Williams, manager of rapper 21 Savage, will represent the Clubhouse community as this month’s app icon.

“We know there will be many more ups and downs as we scale, and competition from the large networks will be fierce,” Davison and Seth wrote. “But we believe the future is created by optimists — and we’re excited to keep working to build a different kind of social network.”

In 2021, Clubhouse has grown from eight to 58 employees. The company in April announced a Series C round of funding led by VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The startup didn’t announce the size of the round but the funding gave it a reported valuation of about $4 billion.

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