Our Investment in Clubhouse
Better Tools to Enable the Software Revolution
Software is deep into a multi-decade process of invading every industry. Building great software and integrating that software with the rest of the value chain of a business is increasingly the most important basis of competition in large swaths of the economy.
Yet, a minority of companies would claim today to be “great at building software.” What makes writing amazing software hard? The core of it is certainly having the right talent — but the other is the task itself. Creating software is still a relatively young, fast-evolving team endeavor that requires heavy communication, high context, and complex task partitioning. The standards for, complexity of, and volume of software produced are inexorably increasing. At the same time, engineering teams are becoming more distributed, faster-moving, and more tightly integrated with other teams, from sales and marketing, to logistics and support. It’s a hard problem.
GitHub has become a beloved home for source code, and modern communication tools such as Slack and Zoom have increased the fidelity and ease with which we talk to one another in freeform. But the collaboration around what code to write, how to split the work, who should write it, and how to document that code, is often still more painful than actually writing code.
Results are so profoundly contingent on tools — and the process the tools enable or dictate. The craft of building software has undergone such a monumental shift that the fifteen-year-old ticketing, project management and issue-tracking tools we use to organize the task are finally breaking. Saddled with design, technical and configuration debt, multiple codebases, and a server-to-cloud transition, existing tools can force teams to take on unnecessary overcomplexity, poor performance and usability pain, and byzantine permission schemes. Many developers and managers are throwing up their hands and finally saying, “Enough! There must be something better.”
Enter Clubhouse, a Collaborative Home for Software Teams
I couldn’t have been more excited to meet co founders Kurt Schrader and Andrew Childs, and the rest of the Clubhouse team. The context, talent, and desire to build especially good workflow software is rare, and the team is obsessed with constantly building an entire experience that is especially good.
The value prop of Clubhouse over competitors’ products is simple. It is a professional-quality tool that will empower your team to build great software, and do so with minimum overhead and maximum joy. It will be fast, feel simple and intuitive, and naturally encourage good habits and better collaboration, both within the product team and with all of the others that must work in lockstep. It will respect creators, and get out of their way so they can do their best work.
Only an obsessive team with a strong point of view, and high context on software engineering could have built Clubhouse, from a clean sheet of paper, brick by brick, story by story, in partnership with their customers (the largest is now 1,000+ active users). There’s plenty more to do ahead, but the unrelenting desire to build something great, design touch and product discipline that the team has shown so far makes me confident for their future.
What happens to organizations who adopt Clubhouse?
When I spoke to Clubhouse users and customers, what I heard first was relief. They have clarity of work, reduction in information overload, relief from the stress and pain of navigating through and fighting clunky software. Then a sense of discovery, a new ability to see how a peer’s work interacts with yours, or the entire picture of how one’s work fits into the whole. Finally, a little bit of joy at using something that is blazingly fast — and joy at being a part of a community that rejoices building great software. It became clear to me why tens of thousands of developers (and growing) had chosen Clubhouse.
I’m excited to lead Clubhouse’s $25M Series B financing, and join Neeraj Agarwal from Battery Ventures on the Board of Directors, as well as an esteemed club of founder/CEO angels supporting Clubhouse, including Olivier Pomel, Dev Ittycheria, Nat Turner, and Todd Olson. Join us — we’re hiring!