Mar 9, 2021 - Economy

Companies ride retail trading wave to Clubhouse

Illustration of an upwards trending phone as a line graph

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Major companies are using Clubhouse to hold court with ordinary investors.

Why it matters: Executives are using the invite-only audio app to allow the type of access that was historically only offered up to Wall Street on stodgy, suited-up quarterly earnings calls.

Driving the news: Auto parts seller hosted a Clubhouse chat Monday night with more than 2,000 participants — the first time it specifically targeted retail investors.

The big picture: Retail trading has been super-charged since the pandemic hit, so it's no coincidence that the company wants their attention.

  • Retail traders account for nearly as much stock trading volume as mutual funds and hedge funds combined, the FT reports — a milestone helped by the Reddit-fueled trading frenzy earlier this year.

Between the lines: Companies are also trying to capitalize on the buzz of Clubhouse. Its main allure has been the ability to drop-in on conversations with influential people (including CEOs).

What's different now is using the platform for post-financial results conversations on a platform that's no doubt teeming with ordinary or would-be investors.

  • "We never found the perfect forum," chief financial and chief operating officer David Meniane tells Axios, explaining why it hadn't done a specific event for retail investors before.
  • "Clubhouse is a fast-growing channel and the stars really aligned."

Another example: Restaurant Brands International — which owns Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons — put its CEO on Clubhouse last month, one day after it released financial results to Wall Street.

  • The invite read: "Companies have calls with investors and business media every 3 months ... [w]hy not give our customers/guests the same access to our leaders," the invite read.

Worth noting: For years, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has famously taken questions from retail investors that submit queries via third-party platform Say.

What to watch: "There is no enterprise use case more ripe for disruption by Clubhouse than the earnings call. Cant wait till @elonmusk goes first on this," Aaron Levie, CEO of cloud company Box, tweeted last week.

The bottom line: This could be a major shakeup in how companies try to target average people — that is, if Clubhouse continues to take off.

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