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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Clubhouse, a San Francisco-based audio social network, raised around $100 million led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz at a $1 billion post-money valuation, Axios has learned. The deal was publicly announced, but the dollar details were not.

Why it matters: The startup says it had two million users last week, despite having launched less than a year ago and keeping a very tight handle on new invites until quite recently. It also now plans to launch a program to monetize creators, which could both increase usage and open up Clubhouse's own revenue spigot.

Details: Clubhouse says it now has "over 180 investors.” That sounds like startup cap table hell, but word is that most of those backers fit on a single line via a zero-fee SPV.

The bottom line: This is a very high-risk/high-reward bet.

  • The risk is that the audio boom is being artificially inflated by the stay-at-home pandemic, and that Andreessen Horowitz's confidence is colored by some of its partners' own addictions to using Clubhouse.
  • The reward is that this is the next evolution of social networking, and that Andreessen Horowitz just preempted other investors like Sequoia Capital once did with WhatsApp.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

Audio messaging platform Yac raises $7.5M Series A

Yac

Yac, an online voice messaging platform, has raised $7.5 million in venture funding led by GGV Capital and the Slack Fund, which funded the app last year.

Why it matters: Yac helps companies integrate audio messaging into their workflow. It launched at the beginning of the pandemic and has benefitted enormously from companies needed improved communication during remote work.

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."