For most venture-backed social companies, a period of hypergrowth seems like it would be the dream. It means the app broke through the noise of thousands of others, resonated with a mass market of people and didn’t need to spend a penny on marketing.
Clubhouse, however, offered a retort to that perspective. The app’s fall from peak, both in terms of daily active users and general fanfare among techies, has been intriguing after its splashy invite-only start. Paul Davison, Clubhouse co-founder and CEO, spoke about changes at the company at TechCrunch Disrupt last week.
“We had a couple of months of insane, silly, unsustainable 10x month-over-month growth,” Davison said. “I think what people might not appreciate is that Clubhouse has kind of moved into all of these different verticals, and they probably don’t appreciate the size of the community and the activity and the diversity and the range and all the conversations that are happening.”
He added: “I don’t think hype is good, I don’t think extreme hypergrowth is good for a company. The ideal is to grow at a steady pace.”
Let’s not hype up hype
Davison described Clubhouse’s “hype moment,” during which the app grew users 10x month over month and took the No. 1 spot at the App Store in Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany, Brazil and Italy.
While the company was able to use that momentum to raise over $100 million in financing, with its latest known round closing in April 2021, Davison grounded the narrative. The co-founder said that the 10x growth lasted two months and spiked the app’s Sensor Tower metrics, which “shaped the narrative” when downloads began to slow down.
In reality, the hype stressed the infrastructure, Davison admitted.