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How Much Does It Cost to Build an App Like Clubhouse?

24.02.2021 Darya Tryfanava
4 Comments
Clubhouse app development

If you’ve been hanging out on social media the past month, you’ve probably heard a new buzzword: Clubhouse. This new platform lets people chat in real time, share stories, and bounce ideas off each other using their voices. Celebrities such as Elon Musk, Jared Leto, and Roger Stone have joined it, and the unconstrained conversations Clubhouse has enabled have incurred the wrath of China, which banned it.

According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, this app has gone viral, picking up 2 million installs in the first week of February. Сlubhouse’s rise to popularity demonstrates that there are still opportunities in the seemingly overcrowded space of social media apps.

 the Clubhouse audience growth numbers

Lying around six million, the Clubhouse audience growth numbers are more impressive when you factor in that the app is not yet available on Android and requires invites from someone already on it

But, is it reasonable to build an app like Clubhouse? Yes, in our opinion.

In this article, you will find insights on essential app futures and answer the question of how much an app like Clubhouse costs.

Why Is Everyone Going Crazy Over the Clubhouse App?

Clubhouse has been around since March 2020, when it was launched by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. In May 2020, it had just 1,500 users and was already worth $100 million.

Currently, Clubhouse is worth $1 billion. It now boasts over 2 million users and is considered a Unicorn startup like Airbnb, Uber, and SpaceX.

Clubhouse’s app icon

Artist Bomani X has been one of the key innovators of the voice-chatting app Clubhouse, and now, his face serves as Clubhouse’s app icon

So, how did the Clubhouse app become popular?

One of the main ways Clubhouse has been able to make a splash so quickly is by getting A-listers in myriad fields to try it. Oprah was one of the first celebrities seen on Clubhouse. Movie stars like Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, and Jared Leto have also been spotted on it.

Conversation of the year

Conversation of the year. Tesla founder Elon Musk asks famously internet-averse Vladimir Putin to join him for ‘Clubhouse’ chat

But this month Clubhouse burst onto the mainstream when Elon Musk hosted an audio chat with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. This event helped propel Clubhouse to the top of the startup charts and sparked a scramble for invitations.

Reuters reported that demand for membership was now so hot that a market had grown on platforms like Reddit, eBay, and Craigslist. In China, invitations were being sold on Alibaba’s second-hand marketplace Idle Fish.

What is the Clubhouse App? Everything to Know about the Invite-only Social Network App Musk and Zuckerberg are Using

What is the Clubhouse? People have described the Clubhouse as:

Clubhouse is an iOS social networking app that allows you to host and join audio conversations, interviews and discussions on thousands of different topics with other people. When you open the app you see “rooms” full of people talking. You enter each room as an audience member. If you want to talk, you just raise your hand and the speakers can invite you up. Or you can create a room of your own. You can talk on Clubhouse while you’re folding laundry, breastfeeding, commuting, working on your couch, or going for a run.

In essence, you have an app on your phone that lets you listen in on other people’s live conversations. But not in a creepy way: these people want to be heard. They may even be famous, or at least seasoned pros. And you may be given the opportunity to join the chat. Using Clubhouse is like tuning into a podcast, but live and with an added layer of exclusivity.

Clubhouse Regulations And Moderation

Persons at least 18 years of age can become Clubhouse users. All users are required to use their real names. When Jacob Tran revealed that he was not Brad Pitt, his account was swiftly banned. Tran told Forbes that he didn’t want to troll nor did he create the account as a joke. But a control algorithm has not yet been established.

Bullying, abuse, or harassment are prohibited on Clubhouse. Users themselves monitor compliance with the rules. Each member can complain about behavior that violates the platform’s rules, after which Clubhouse will investigate and make an appropriate decision.

Users are also forbidden to record conversations, and conversations cannot be paused to be listened to afterward.

Clubhouse Features Explained

New user onboarding. New users signing up for the Clubhouse app are asked to fill in their names and upload a profile picture. Once you’re done, you may freely join any room.

New user onboarding

Feed. When you open your feed, you’ll see a list of different discussions that are called rooms. You can see the name of each room and all the members who are in it.

User profiles. No fancy introductions are required on Clubhouse. Only a name, profile picture, and a short description (optional) are needed. When you’re in a room, you can see the clubs a user is a member of. You can also see who has invited a user to discussions and when. This is similar to Twitter, where you can follow someone and see that person’s followers and following on their profile.

Clubs. Clubs are similar to Facebook groups. You can join clubs you’re interested in and easily find people with the same interests. You can view and add members and suggest discussion topics. Some examples of the many clubs on Clubhouse are Startup Club, Black Wealth Matters, Leadership Reinvented, Music & Technology, Health Is Wealth, NBA Fan Club, The Legacy Think Tank, and TikTok Marketing Secrets.

clubs

Rooms. A room is similar to a Zoom or Twitch conference call, but with only some people talking while most listen in. You can view and join existing rooms or create your own. In a room, you can raise your hand to politely interrupt the speaker or ask to speak. Speakers can also invite others in the room to speak. And, just like a phone call, once the conversation is over, the room is closed. Unlike Twitch—where live-streamed videos stay on the platform—the live audio chats held in conversation rooms disappear.

rooms

Search. A search feature is essential for any social media application with live content. In Clubhouse, you can search for chat topics and people you want to follow.

search

Upcoming for you. In this section, you can view and opt in for upcoming discussions. This looks like a schedule of events, with names of conversations, start times, speakers, and short topic descriptions. Clicking the bell icon shows when the chart will start.

Activity. The activity tab enables you to see the history of interactions with your account, including those who followed you. You can discover who just joined the app, the clubs someone belongs to, and scheduled events.

Notifications. Clubhouse push notifications allow you to be notified of interesting events such as the start of a new conversation or new members joining a room.

How to Build a Clubhouse-like App

Now that you’ve figured out the app features, let’s summarize what you need to develop an app like Clubhouse. Some steps must be performed before starting the development process.

Research your app’s target market

When developing a spontaneous voice chat app, the first thing you need to consider is the target audience. Understanding your users’ needs makes development easier and leads to a better final product.

Choose a monetization model

The next step is to choose the right monetization model for your mobile application. Now that you know your users’ needs, you can predict what your users will pay for. You can choose from three monetization models: paid, freemium and in-app purchases.

Hire an app development team

If you decide to enter the market with a spontaneous voice chat app, you should choose which professional development team you will take you further. We recommend hiring software development professionals who will build your solution from scratch.

Start from the discovery phase

We suggest you start from the discovery phase. The information obtained during this stage will help determine the scope of work, time frame, and task planning for the implementation of the project. First, our team will find out your wishes. Then market analysis is conducted and the project description is formulated. This approach minimizes the number of changes during the development process.

Create an MVP

We recommend you start creating a spontaneous voice chat app by launching a minimum viable product first. By using an MVP approach, you’ll be able to consider users’ feedback and improve your app.

What Technology Stack Does the Clubhouse App Use?

Clubhouse is at a tricky stage in its young life. Currently, Clubhouse is available only as an iOS app, and its rooms can’t be accessed via Android devices or the Web. It’s also invite-only for now, meaning you need to know an existing user to join the app.

clubhouse app flow

Little information is available on Clubhouse’s tech stack. But it is known that Clubhouse, a live audio social media platform, was created using Agora’s toolkit. Agora claims not to store user audio or metadata, except to monitor network quality and bill its clients.

Also, the Clubhouse stack involves:

  • Cloudflare  for hosting APIs
  • AWS(S3) for storing profile images
  • Amplitude for product analytics
  • Data Theorem for app security
  • PubNub for actual voice room

Clubhouse Security: Is the Data Safe?

John Furrier, CEO and cofounder of CrowdChat, founder/Co-CEO of SiliconANGLE MEDIA on Twitter

The buzz audio app Clubhouse has some serious security flaws.

First, Clubhouse records all conversations, although users are not allowed to do so. Second, Clubhouse’s reliance on Agora raises serious privacy concerns. Stanford’s cyber-security researchers identified a vulnerability in Clubhouse that potentially allows the Chinese authorities to access user data.

Finally, users’ conversations are not encrypted and are transmitted in an open format. According to a recent Bloomberg article, an unidentified user was able to stream Clubhouse audio feeds this past weekend from “multiple rooms” in the platform into a third-party website.

If you are concerned about the Clubhouse privacy situation, you may want to create an app that allows users to communicate via more secure calls.

How Will Clubhouse Be Monetized?

Clubhouse doesn’t monetize yet and currently focuses on enhancing a community of content creators. But it might soon explore monetization strategies beyond advertising.

TechCrunch reported that Clubhouse will be launching tests around tipping, tickets and subscriptions over the next few months. These could be something like Patreon built right into the platform.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Clubhouse-like App?

The social audio app Clubhouse has uncomplicated functionality. The crucial task is to create a multiplayer room with the ability to broadcast online. It’s not difficult but requires a lot of man-hours.

The following time expenditures should be considered:

  • Clubhouse app development for iOS:  about 400 hours
  • Clubhouse app development for Android: nearly 350 hours
  • Design:  about 100 hours
  • PM/QA:  up to 120 hours
  • Total:  about 870 hours for development.

We scoped out a Clubhouse MVP to see how much it would cost to outsource its development. A Clubhouse-like app can cost about $33,000 for a basic application. But note that the cost of development will mainly depend on the team size and the hourly rate of developers.

To develop an audio social media app like Clubhouse with the essential features outlined above, you’ll need to put together a team of the following professionals:
  • UX/UI Expert
  • iOS/Android developers
  • Frontend developer
  • Backend developer
  • Business Analyst
  • Project manager
  • QA specialist
  • Scrum Master

Of course, this is an approximate estimation, and the final app development cost will depend on the scale and specifics of the project.

We hope this has been an interesting and helpful look under the hood of the Clubhouse app. If you are interested in creating a fast, intuitive, spontaneous voice chat app, please contact us at info@vironit.com.

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4 responses to “How Much Does It Cost to Build an App Like Clubhouse?”

  1. Luke P. says:

    Reply

    Hi. I have read several articles on this topic. And I have seen different estimates for the clubhouse app. An Indian company estimates the development at up to $230,000. One of the Ukrainian companies gives an estimate of $9,000. The first seems to me unrealistically overstated, the second — suspiciously low.
    You have an estimate of $30,000. Can you explain to me what these figures are based on? And why is there such a difference in the estimates?

    • Darya Tryfanava says:

      Reply

      Hello.
      It is important to understand that each app is unique on its own and the process of building them from scratch could be different depending upon several components like requirement analysis, UI concept, visual design, QA process, etc. Also, the cost of development depends on the hourly rate of developers. And the number of members in a development team can also increase or decrease the price.
      Note, it is much cheaper to outsource an entire project than to hire each developer individually and place the developers on internal teams. Outsourced labor in Eastern Europe may cost 80% less than the same labor performed in-house in Western Europe or North America.
      But in some teams estimates are too low. The obvious strategy often employed is to add hidden costs. You will sign a contract with the company that you hired regarding the service the company is going to provide. Any details not covered in the contract will cost extra. In this case, you will most likely be at a disadvantage when negotiations start.
      Besides, an estimate of $230,000 is insanely high for such a project. For comparison, a full web platform with multiple pages will cost about $65.000.
      Additionally, the application won’t be developing from scratch. You can use the Clubhouse app as a reference point at the stage of project initiation to understand what technologies, frameworks, and how the features should work.
      Assuming the factors mentioned above, it is expected that a Clubhouse-like app will cost about $30,000.

  2. Michael Woodward says:

    Reply

    Hi. The headlines are all about working on a clubhouse-like social audio feature. twitter, facebook, spotify, slack, and even linkedin and netflix have all thrown their hat in the ring for the social-audio feature game.
    Could this be a shift towards this kind of platform on social media? Does it make sense to make a clubhouse clone, in your opinion?

    • Darya Tryfanava says:

      Reply

      Hi, Michael.
      Given the rising popularity of Clubhouse, such a social media development trend comes as little surprise. I suppose it could be valuable on LinkedIn, with professional-based rooms aligned with specific niches, helping to improve connections and build your industry presence. Right now, social media audio rooms are in early-stage testing, and platforms are still fleshing out the option. But you can likely see yet other audio social options sometime soon. Also, platforms are looking to launch Android versions of the functionality before the Clubhouse has its own app.
      The era of social media didn’t end with services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Clubhouse to name a few. Each of these services follows the concept of Facebook but adds something new. So, if you have tried Clubhouse and think you can make a similar app with more interesting features, it’s time to start development.

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