Meet the CEO of $4 billion app that generated buzz during the peak of pandemic

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Meet the CEO of $4 billion app that generated buzz during the peak of pandemic

lubhouse, the music-only app designed to be a virtual conference hall, generated heavy buzz during the peak of the pandemic and was valued at $4 billion later this year. In the months since then, that excitement seems to have cooled.

Despite the red-hot start, the Clubhouse Chief Executive was sobbing Thursday night in an interview with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television.

Boy, I think we grew way too fast earlier in the year, Davison said, speaking from a conference held by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. What we really want to do is be on that path of steady, gradual growth. In April, Bloomberg reported that Twitter Inc. had held talks to sell clubhouse for the most recent $4 billion valuation. Later that month, the company raised a new round of funding by venture firm Andreessen Horowitz giving it the same valuation — quadruple the level Clubhouse received in January.

Clubhouse allows users to host their own radio shows from home. Listeners tune in to hear interviews or panel discussions and can participate in live chats. The platform has drawn appearances from other names in technology and other fields, including Tesla Inc. s Elon Musk and Facebook Inc.'s Mark Zuckerberg, and pioneered copycat apps.

At times, Clubhouse also struggled to prevent abusive violence on the app, drawing criticism that it wasn t doing enough to root out antisemitism and other problems.

Even as the company launched its app on the iOS platform in late spring — complementing its Android service — it was seeing a slowdown in downloads. Still, despite the launch of Android, the company says it had more than 10 million Android installations.

Davison said Clubhouse s rapid growth early on really stressed our systems, leading the company of eight people to scramble to hire quickly.

Clubhouse has now about 80 employees, he said. Davison is also saying that paying creators is something we should all think about. Asked whether the company could see a drop-off in users as people return to normal life, Davison said that he sees opportunity in people listening as they commute.

We re at the point where we can take a breath and focus on the long term, focus on steady growth, Davison said.