Clubhouse, the app that sparked a wave of audio-only features, is laying off over 50 percent of its employees. The app’s co-founders, Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, shared the news in a memo to employees, where they emphasize a need to “reset” the company in a post-covid era.
“As the world has opened up post-Covid, it’s become harder for many people to find their friends on Clubhouse and to fit long conversations into their daily lives,” the founders write. “To find its role in the world, the product needs to evolve. This requires a period of change.”
In their memo, Davison and Seth say they’ve been unable to make things work with the current size of Clubhouse’s team, noting that it’s “difficult” to “communicate the strategy to cross-functional teams” and “make quick changes when each surface is owned by a different product squad.” They believe a smaller, “product-focused” team should help remedy this.
Clubhouse first emerged as an invite-only app in the midst of covid-related lockdowns in 2020. During this time, downloads soared as users were looking for remote ways to meet up with friends. The buzz surrounding the app even spurred several clones from other companies, like Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Audio Rooms, and Spotify Live (which has since been shut down).
However, Clubhouse has been struggling to stay relevant since then, with Twitter Spaces largely taking over the audio-only space. As Clubhouse looks to evolve to adapt to the changing tech landscape, the app launched a feature called “Houses” last August, which it describes as a dedicated chat space where users can “make new friends through their existing friend groups in a more intimate setting.”
“We have a clear vision for what Clubhouse 2.0 looks like and we believe that with a smaller, leaner team we will be able to iterate faster on the details, build the right product and honor our teammates who helped us get here,” Davison and Seth say.