Last year an invitation-only app called Clubhouse, which lets users join impromptu audio conversations with strangers, launched in the App Store. Within a few weeks it was being touted by tech heavyweights as the next big thing in the social media space.
Clubhouse took that hype and ran with it. Despite having only a few thousand users the company raised $12m at a $100m valuation. Downloads soared, and just 8 months later the company raised again, this time at a $1bn valuation. Then, just 3 months later, the company raised again, this time at a $4bn valuation.
Few companies have had such a meteoric rise in such a short amount of time — but the latest download data suggests that enthusiasm for Clubhouse might already be waning. According to data from Sensor Tower Clubhouse was downloaded roughly 900,000 times in April. That's down more than 90% from the peak of February, when the app was downloaded 9.6 million times.
A lockdown fad?
The numbers suggest the hype period is coming to an end for Clubhouse. Perhaps as cinemas, restaurants, sporting venues, cafes and everything else continues to open up the allure of listening to what could be called "live podcasts" is a little less enticing.
That said, Clubhouse does have a few levers to pull, the first of which it initiated this week by launching an Android app — widening the pool of potential users significantly. The other lever Clubhouse could pull would be to remove the invite-only feature, which has limited user growth only to people who already know someone with the app. With no fewer than 7 tech companies having announced they are working on a feature like Clubhouse perhaps the mystery is fading.