Clubhouse is where founders go to chat.
Upon its launch last March, the social app quickly became popular among investors, who hold regular, live audio-only discussions, called "rooms," in some cases within various topics of interest to groups called "clubs." Business owners soon followed, building a roster of virtual educational events and places to hone their storytelling skills, commiserate about entrepreneurial life, and share experiences with the likes of high-profile users like Daymond John and Jason Fried.
If you can get an invitation--Kristin Marquet Chester, owner of New York City-based Marquet Media, recommends starting by asking your closest friends and then making requests on social media if needed--here are three types of rooms and clubs worth checking out for entrepreneurs. To find these events in the app, search for the relevant speakers or the name of the club.
The access to famous people on Clubhouse is "mind blowing," says Jeremy Knauff, CEO at digital marketing agency Spartan Media. "It's like cramming everybody into a stadium and doing an episode of Shark Tank." Spend enough time networking with people on the app, and you might be able to connect with and ask questions of celebrity entrepreneurs directly. Here are a few people whom you should follow:
Shark Tank star Daymond John runs a club called If You Want to Be Rich, Think Like This!!! He often pops into other rooms as well to opine on everything from building a diverse pipeline to cryptocurrency, advises Zachary Klempf, CEO of San Francisco-based Selly Automotive CRM.
John's fellow Shark Barbara Corcoran doesn't have a club but hosts in her own rooms and speaks as a guest in others. This week, she hosted a charity event in the club Leadership Lab with Kat Cole, former president of Cinnabon and another frequently recommended Clubhouser, focused on breaking barriers for women at work. One piece of advice she shared that she regularly gives to her Shark Tank companies' founders when they're burned out: Make a list of everything you love and everything you hate about running your business, and delegate the latter.
Other recommended speakers, from Clubhouse power users including Klempf and Abhi Mathur, founder and CEO of New York City-based Acoustic Meta Materials: Elon Musk, who speaks in Clubhouse sporadically (memorably once to grill Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev), investor Ben Horowitz, entrepreneur Rebecca Minkoff, and Basecamp CEO Jason Fried.
Startup and pitch rooms
There are practically too many startup and pitch rooms and clubs to count, but here are a few recommendations:
- Startup Club, run by Ed Nusbaum--startup mentor and co-founder of Agora, which helps companies with tasks like conversion and monetization--is one of the best clubs for founders to learn, practice their pitches, and even make hires, according to multiple founders. You can follow frequent moderator and admin Soumeya Benghanem, product management lead at VMware and an entrepreneur. And check out Pitch Practice, which is run in the club every Tuesday by Shondra Washington, president and co-founder at TBC-Capital, and Chris Moreno, an investor focused on Latinx entrepreneurs.
- Deal or Bust: Founders Shoot Their Shot, hosted by Nathan Latka, CEO of Founderpath.com and a business podcaster. In this room, investors wire money on the spot to promising startups, and Latka says he plans to run one each Monday moving forward.
Startup Hotline: What Investors Really Think of Your Idea room (in the VC & Angel Investors Club), hosted each Wednesday by San Francisco-based Hustle Fund general partner and co-founder Elizabeth Yin. It's not always easy to get kind or straightforward feedback from venture capitalists, Yin says. That's where this room comes in: It's a no-pressure forum to practice and get honest commentary. Mac Conwell, managing partner at RareBreed Ventures, says he has scouted companies while moderating in the room.
Future of Work, which delves into topics from entrepreneurship to raising capital. Bob Myers, chairman of SKYL, a startup consultancy, says he swears by the room for "thinking creatively about how working culture might change as time goes on."
Scott Omelianuk, editor in chief of Inc., regularly hosts events on entrepreneurship.
Other recommended rooms, from Myers, Yin, Burning Soul founder Lauren Eckhardt, and Pietra Communications CEO Olga Gonzalez: Breakfast With Champions - Millionaire Breakfast Club for its thought-provoking sessions; The Hustler Club for unvarnished feedback from other founders; and Leadership Lab for deep dives on company culture.
Networking and affinity groups
Katherine Lynn, founder and CEO of job application platform NextSteps, was tired of hearing men on Clubhouse talk about how easy it was to raise money. So she started Women Founders Club in September with Liana Fricker, founder of Inspiration Space, a virtual community for entrepreneurs. The Women Founders Club now has more than 70,000 followers, and features stars like Alli Webb and investor Brit Morin as speakers. Here are some other affinity and networking groups to try:
The Sisterhood of Influential Entrepreneurs, run by fashion blogger Zavanna Dova. While many clubs are good for practicing and learning, this one, along with Women in Business 40+, also provides a venue to share your experiences, says leadership coach and consulting business owner Karen Laos. Keya Grant, director of supplier inclusion at Papa John's, also recommends Tryb because it "holds space" for Black women entrepreneurs that can be difficult to carve out on other social media platforms.
Entrepreneur Noir. Grant is a founder of this room and says besides being a diverse space where everyone is welcome, it's an opportunity for business owners to connect with corporate buyers like herself who are looking to diversify their supply chains.
Small Business Saturday. Every Saturday, Bria McNair, an HR professional who also runs a professional coaching business called Be Wise Forever, hosts a room in The Hustler Club for business owners to share their experiences and support one another.