Elon Musk’s banter sparks Clubhouse app subscription


A surprise chat between tech billionaire Elon Musk and Robinhood CEO Vlad Teneff on the new voice-based social network, Clubhouse, helped propel the app to the top of startup charts and sparked a scramble for invitations for exclusive service.

The interaction between the two entrepreneurs on the stage on Sunday came amid intense news attention about Robinhood, the online brokerage firm that has been caught up in a wild stock market battle between retail investors and major Wall Street funds.

Members get inviting a limited number of friends during the pre-launch period, and a market for them has grown on platforms like Reddit, eBay and Craigslist.

And in China, invitations are sold in the Idle Fish flea market in Alibaba, although Clubhouse is not available on the Apple app store in that country.

In Japan, investors, tech workers, and the media rallied to the service.

Data analytics firm Sensor Tower said there were about 3.6 million app installs worldwide – only available on Apple’s iPhone – with 1.1 million installs in the past six days.

Investors were so enthusiastic about part of the action that at some point last Monday they paid out shares in Clubhouse Media Group, a completely unencumbered stock of 117%.

Nasdaq-listed Chinese tech company Agora Inc saw its shares rise 30% due to media reports that it may be a tech partner to Clubhouse.

Agora declined to comment while a Clubhouse spokeswoman declined to comment on questions about the technology partners.

A source familiar with the matter said the latest round of financing for the San Francisco-based company on January 24 was estimated at $ 1 billion.

The financing was led by Andreasen Horowitz, a leading venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

Amid the uproar, Clubhouse has also sparked a backlash from those critical of the nature of closed chats like the one between Musk and Tenev.

Jessica Lisin, editor-in-chief of technology news outlet The Information, tweeted that Andresen Horowitz’s co-founder Mark Andreasen, who also supports Robinhood, has prevented many reporters from listening to Musk’s speech.

And the conversation between Musk and Tenev took place at a regular clubhouse event called “The Good Time Show.”

Andresen Horowitz did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the matter.

Clubhouse CEO Paul Davidson told Bloomberg TV on Monday that event hosts can choose who is allowed to listen, confirming concerns about the nature of the app.

Andreessen Horowitz said separately in a blog in January that it was launching a new “media feature”, adding to its already active broadcast and blogging activities.

The Clubhouse aspires to make the app widely available, and expects job opportunities in subscriptions or event tickets like the one Musk has starred in.

It will have to deal with moderation in the type of site abuse, from hate speech to harassment, that the main social media platforms face.

The Clubhouse has been criticized for reports of harassment and hate speech in its rooms, some private and some public.

A spokeswoman for the app said it had already banned some individual users from the platform for violating its rules, but she refused to share more details.

The company said it does not allow racism, hate speech, sex discrimination, and abuse on the network, although it says it allows for “public rudeness.”


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