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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 Carparts.com 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," Carparts.com 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.

Go deeper

Elon Musk suspends Tesla purchases with bitcoin

Elon Musk. Photo: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Consumers can no longer buy Tesla vehicles with bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Wednesday.

What he's saying: Musk cited the environmental concerns associated with bitcoin — the cryptocurrency has a massive carbon footprint — as his reasoning behind Wednesday's decision.

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23 mins ago - Science

The cicadas are a preview of a buggy future

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Trillions of Brood X cicadas are now emerging throughout parts of the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern U.S.

Why it matters: Most immediately, because they can be as loud as a Metallica show when they're singing in concert.

Scoop: Details from Dems $2 billion security proposal includes money for heirs of late House members

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) speaks Wednesday during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing about the Capitol attack. Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

A $2 billion request to harden the Capitol includes $521 million to cover recent National Guard call-ups, as well as money to protect the White House, vice president's residence — and pay the heirs of some late House members, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: As one lawmaker said today, "It's a lot of money." But before today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team have given little detail about the components resulting in the $2 billion price tag.