Maybe the eulogies for Clubhouse were a bit premature.
Sure, the social audio app’s star has dimmed since it became a Silicon Valley sensation during the first phase of the pandemic, when millions of people were stuck at home, bored out of their minds. By some estimates, usage of the app is down more than 70% from its peak in February 2021, and popular creators who once hosted lively interactive discussions on the platform are bailing on it. Even the luminaries from Andreessen Horowitz—the venture firm that backed Clubhouse and then flooded its chatrooms with its partners to expound on crypto and other topics—have become far less active personalities on the app.
But Clubhouse is still alive and kicking. It raised boatloads of cash—around $310 million, according to PitchBook—and, more important, it doesn’t seem to have blown the money on the kind of extravagant spending spree that landed so many other tech startups in hot water. Clubhouse has under 100 employees and, at least so far, has avoided the kind of deep layoffs some companies have had to resort to recently—like Peloton, which cut 2,800 employees, or 20% of its corporate workforce, earlier this year. People who have recently left Clubhouse estimated that the company’s cash has given it enough runway to stave off existential questions for several years.