Feb 2, 2021

Is Clubhouse the next big social media platform?

Clubhouse
Social Media
Elon Musk
Robinhood
William Smith
2 min
New social media platform Clubhouse is focused on audio, allowing users to join limited capacity group chats
New social media platform Clubhouse is focused on audio, allowing users to join limited capacity group chats...

San Francisco, California-based Clubhouse has emerged from relative obscurity as a possible challenger to the existing social media empires.

Eschewing the text, video and image-based nature of most social media websites, Clubhouse is focused on audio, allowing users to join limited capacity group chats. The company reported that two million people recently visited its site in a week.

In a blog post, the company highlighted some of the app's uses, saying “We’ve also been blown away by the brilliance and creativity of the Clubhouse community. Each night in Clubhouse, there are now thousands of rooms filled with people hosting game shows, recapping NBA games, singing opera, discussing philosophy, meeting other musicians, sharing travel tips, running support groups, and meditating together. They’re hosting daily talk shows, performing standup comedy, playing guitar and giving history lectures.”

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Nearly a unicorn

The platform has already achieved significant backing, raising a total of $110mn across three funding rounds, despite only having been founded in March of last year. Its latest Series B round raised $100mn and was led by Andreessen Horowitz, pushing its valuation close to tech unicorn status. 

The company said it would use the funds to enable content creators to be paid, alongside improving server reliability and expanding support teams.

An unlikely backer

Yesterday It also received another form of backing from Tesla and SpaceX’s Elon Musk, well known for his social media clout. Musk interviewed the CEO of fintech trading app Robinhood about the controversy surrounding its decision to limit the trading of Gamestop stock after the WallStreetBets subreddit entered into a battle with short sellers.

Today, Musk posted a tweet stating that he would be “Off Twitter for a while”, which, when taken alongside his appearance on Clubhouse, could indicate an intention to move platforms. That seems unlikely, however, given that Musk has 44.8 million followers on Twitter, while Clubhouse remains invite-only.

(Image: Clubhouse)

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

Microsoft
NASCAR
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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