How to Build an App Like Clubhouse: Everything You Need to Know [Update 2023]
The Clubhouse app has opened a new era in social products available only via an exclusive invitation. Our team checked the app out and wants to explain how to build an app like Clubhouse.
To put it simply, the app is a live-streaming audio-chat app that includes distinct social aspects like conference calls, discussions, and talkback radio. Users can either start their own conference or listen to the discussions of others.
The Clubhouse app hit the headlines once Elon Musk used it. Overnight, the number of users reached over 2 million. As time has passed, the app is still popular among 10 million active users every week and in January 2022, Clubhouse was ranked #18 out of the most downloaded apps on iOS.
If you have an idea about creating a similar app, we have crafted details on how to develop an app like Clubhouse, namely:
- Uniqueness of the Clubhouse app - its invite app feature
- Clubhouse app functionality
- Step by step process of how to build an app like Clubhouse
- Services and costs involved in audio-chat app development
- Ideas to make your own unique Clubhouse app
Intrigued? Let’s start directly with the Clubhouse app insights, followed by its key features.
Buzz Around the Clubhouse App: Why It Became Popular
While some are buzzing about it, others wonder what it is that makes Clubhouse so popular. As well, people are now thinking of how to create an app like Clubhouse.
We’ve checked out the most legendary media buzzing about Clubhouse too. Here’s what they say about the Clubhouse app:
- New York Times: the invite-only app draws attention with exclusivity.
- Forbes: the audio-only app feeds the need for human connection.
- CNBC: celebrities and high-profile venture capitalists are promoting it.
- Vogue: FOMO fuels people to download the latest tech trend.
At its core, Clubhouse is an amalgamation of a conference app and a social network allowing users to gather in rooms for chats. You can see other people in the rooms and view their profiles, but you can talk only as you raise a hand and get permission from a moderator. People with similar interests gather in clubs.
As you can see, the functionality is quite straightforward; nevertheless, the app is extremely popular.
So, what factors make this social application unique?
- Exclusivity - the invite-only app, with the world’s tech leaders as first users, makes everyone who joins feel like a member of an exclusive small world.
- Audio-based unscripted and unrecorded conversations - this factor creates a feeling of intimacy with no-video and live-only conversations, and grants a completely hands-free experience, allowing users to use the app while doing other tasks.
- Simple interface - it is extremely easy to bounce between rooms, and jump in and out of any conversation without a fuss.
- Unlimited selection of rooms - this gives the spontaneity of real-world conversations.
- Personal optimization - this feature allows everyone to receive a feed based on their tastes, whether that is Bitcoin talks, weight training, or dog walking.
Initially, the Clubhouse app was available only on the iOS platform. Nevertheless, within a year the company also launched an Android app version.
As well, the app added support for more languages and new categories of “Topics” making it easier for users to search for rooms.
If you want to know how to make an app like Clubhouse for Android and other platforms, contact a custom software development company like MLSDev with experience in social networking apps.
MLSDev has built an app that follows Clubhouse’s personalization principle. The app GoGibbon helps people find matches based on their interests like nightlife, sports & games, amusement, culture, and more. Our team has experience in building video and audio chat functionalities and life streaming services like Netflix or location-based apps like Uber.
Have a desire to make an app like Clubhouse or something similar?
Contact our team and get complex feedback for how to plan, develop, and launch a social application. Our team can help you estimate your project concept and create a business and technical strategy according to your needs and market research.
How to Make an App Like Clubhouse: 9 Core Features
Clubhouse’s popularity can be attributed to its simplicity.
The app has features like the feed, rooms, clubs, profile, and search, but they seem to be just enough to make thousands of people crave an exclusive invite.
So, to build an app like Clubhouse, let’s check out the following functionality:
Clubhouse creators did their best to make users comfortable with the new app.
You start with a Welcome page and navigate to setting up your profile:
You have two options: “Get your username,” which will add you to the waiting list for the time being, or you can select the “Sign in” option if you have an invite.
In this case, you receive an SMS code. As you enter the code, you pass to a registration page to start with your profile.
Notably, Clubhouse features an integration for both Twitter and Instagram, used for numerous purposes, like social sign-in or for finding people you may know.
If you opt to enter your info manually, you have to add your full name and create a Clubhouse username.
This app institutes a real-name policy, and there is a story behind this.
Once, someone impersonated Elon Musk, and that infuriated the rapper MC Hammer, who later wrote on his Twitter: “Real identity!!! Be accountable for your words and opinions!”, according to NYTimes
Your onboarding continues with an overview of your interests.
Here, please pay special attention to learn how to develop an app like Clubhouse in terms of a user-friendly interface.
They condensed a difficult user profiling process into a gamified review consisting of questions and buttons with emoticons.
This step is important for the machine to suggest people or clubs that mirror your interests.
Here’s what the suggestion page looks like:
If you opt to select people individually, you’ll see a slightly different interface and a “Follow no one” option. However, selecting the latter means that your feed will remain empty.
The onboarding concludes with your permission for notifications when something interesting comes up:
Also check out how to make a music identification app like Shazam.
2. Clubhouse Invitation
Perhaps the most important point in our query of how to make an app like Clubhouse is the invitation system, as it adds the outspoken air of exclusivity.
As a registered user, you can send invites to two other people:
Generally, there are three ways a person can join Clubhouse:
- Register on a virtual waiting list
- Get a Clubhouse invite from a person already there
- Buy an invite
The rumors say that you can obtain or sell your invites on eBay. The NYTimes states that the price varies from $30 to $20,000. However, now you can receive an invite for as little as $3.
3. Feed - Clubhouse Hallway
The feed consists of the events hosted by people and clubs you follow.
Similar to other social networking apps, the feed contains two separate lists: one for upcoming events and one for those that are up in the air.
To develop an app like Clubhouse, you have to make sure your feed functionality is very straightforward.
4. Clubhouse Rooms
To create a room of your own, you have to tap the “Start a room” button. There are three types of rooms: Open, Social, and Closed; each type determines who can join your conversation.
If a person wants to launch a session, it is possible to start a room with a simple architecture:
- List of speakers participating in the room
- Possibility to search inside a room
- “Raise hand” button
- “Leave quietly” button
If you are not the host, you’re usually muted. The moderator decides which of the participants can speak out.
You can sit quietly and speak only if the moderator reacts when you raise your hand.
If the moderator brings you to the stage, you can mute or unmute your microphone, and you become a speaker.
When you start a room yourself, you are the moderator. As the moderator, you can allow or forbid your speakers to raise their hands, mute other speakers’ microphones, and invite people from other audiences to speak.
For extra information you can check out the guide: How to Make a Video Chat App: Guide with Business & Tech Aspects.
5. User Profile
How do you build an app like Clubhouse? Pay attention to the user profile.
The user profile is extremely simple. It features a picture and a short description of who the users are. Just that - and that leaves a lot of space for your imagination.
Note: During conversations, listeners tend to swipe profile pictures to express their attitudes. You might consider developing an app that is generally like Clubhouse, but that has a standard set of emoticons users can use during talks without changing profile pictures.
6. Clubhouse Clubs
Each Clubhouse user can only start one club once they’ve held three regularly-scheduled room conversations. Within your club, you can host either private (club members only) or public groups.
What does a club look like? Its structure is as simple as everything else on the Clubhouse app. Each club consists of the following aspects:
- Club name
- Club logo or picture
- Short description
- Categories of interest
As well, there is a “Follow” button; once you follow a club, you will receive notifications when they host conversations that you can join.
There are three possible roles you can have in a club:
- Admin – they add and remove people, schedule conversations, and access the club profile and rules. Note: the admin functionality has an interesting feature, which is a secret invite option that lets admins invite people to Clubhouse via their clubs.
- Members – they create private rooms in the club, check out other private rooms, and nominate other members.
- Followers – they only have access to the open groups created by the admin. No private rooms and no way to see someone else’s private rooms either.
Now we are in the middle of our query of how to develop an app like Clubhouse, and we’ve covered the features that attract the most attention: invites, rooms, and clubs.
If you want to develop a social media app like Clubhouse, pay attention to the search functionality.
Within the Clubhouse you can search for people and clubs by their names, and for conversations by some specific topics.
It is also possible to search for people within a room during a conversation:
8. Activity Tab
Any user can easily access the account activity and check its user logs. This is another great feature to cover the basic user behavior of observing others within clubhouse like app development.
The functionality allows users to check out other Clubhouse members that they follow, the activity of new users, other accounts, clubs, club members, events on the app, and more.
9. Upcoming For You
This feature, as its name suggests, allows you to see and filter the upcoming events. However, it also lets you join conversations that have already started.
You may filter the upcoming events by three categories: All upcoming, Upcoming for you, and My events.
Interested in creating a social media app?
Learn everything you need to know about the types of social media apps, current market trends, technical aspects, and much more in our article How to Create a Social Media App.This guide can help you create a unique product rather than start with clubhouse clone app development.
Cost to Develop an App like Clubhouse: Breakdown
To answer straightforwardly, a simple social networking app can cost you around $60,000, and its development timeline will be 3-6 months. Note that this calculation takes into account an average developer rate of $40 per hour in Eastern Europe (Ukraine).
If you want to add more profound functionality, the cost will rise. A complex social media app can cost $230,000 and its development can take more than 9 months.
Here are a few of the main factors influencing the final cost to develop an app like Clubhouse:
- Size and location of the IT vendor - you may choose to hire an IT team in-house or outsource to a local vendor, freelancer, or offshore software development company. The most strongly recommended option is to hire an IT outsourcing team that provides mobile app development services.
- Complexity of functionality - simply put; the more features you include, the higher the cost will be
- Back-end infrastructure and connected APIs - if your app will have to process lots of data (newsfeed, likes and shares, messaging), the back-end infrastructure should be planned accordingly and ensure quick scalability.
- Complexity of UX/UI design - the price will depend on the number of screens, unique elements, number of custom illustrations, animations, etc.
- Branded visuals - the development of different logo variants (big version, small version, icon) will expand the scope of a designer’s work and thus increase the cost of the project
- Development approach and number of platforms - the cost depends on whether you want a native or hybrid app, and the number of platforms you intend to target (Android, iOS, Web)
Want to make an app like Clubhouse, but not sure how to start?
Contact MLSDev for a consultation. Our specialists will help you estimate the project’s tech stack, cost, and duration for free.
In general, you can choose among three options to create an app similar to Clubhouse.
These options for Clubhouse-like app development, namely:
- Boutique software development company
- Custom software development company
1. Hire a freelancer
How to hire app developers if you have a limited budget?
Hiring a freelance developer is the cheapest. Today, finding free specialists who know how to build an app like Clubhouse is not simple, but possible. This is all due to the app’s recent popularity. You can try your luck on platforms like Guru, Freelancer, Upwork, AnyTask, Truelancer, and FreeUp.
However, by hiring a freelancer, you risk broken deadlines, quality shortage, and a lack of transparent project management. For these reasons, you should run a profound background check.
2. Hire a local IT company
This is a great, but costly option. If you are based in Western Europe or North America, development prices can reach $80-$150 per hour. Perhaps not all the people searching for a way to develop an app like Clubhouse can boast Andersen and Horowitz as investors and $12M of initial funding.
3. Outsource software development
This option is for those who have a great idea and a moderate budget. Since audio-chat apps seem set to conquer the wider market sometime soon, you can trust your product idea in the hands of a company providing custom software development services.
If you don’t want to overpay for branding, but don’t want to risk broken deadlines and require a corporate-like collaboration culture, the best way to build an app like Clubhouse is by hiring a custom software development company like MLSDev. Your benefits will include:
- High quality of the end-product
- Corporate-level quality of cooperation and communication
- Effective project management
- Reasonable pricing and rates
Want to learn more about software development outsourcing?
Our article Offshore & Nearshore Software Development: Practical Guide to Choose Your Best IT Vendor will share key factors to consider when choosing an outsourcing team, tips on how to manage a remote team successfully, and much more.
When you need to make an app like Clubhouse or something similar, it makes sense to outsource your project to Eastern Europe. According to Stack Overflow research, Eastern Europe is the epicenter of development talents. Each month about 50 million people visit the resource for learning.
We recommend that you pay special attention to Ukraine. This country is home to numerous specialists in Objective C, Swift, Java, and other stacks for iOS app development.
As well, if you need to expand the app to other platforms, you can find many developers who know how to develop an app like Clubhouse for Android and the web.
Here, you can find specialists in rare technologies that are some of the most expensive in the Western world like Perl, Scala, Go, Ruby, Pascal, R, Prolog, C#, and Kotlin.
As well, Ukraine takes the 20th position in the A. T. Kearney Global Services Location Index as the most attractive outsourcing software development destination, and more than 100 companies from the Fortune 500 list outsource software development to Ukraine.
How to Build an App like Clubhouse: Services & Processes
So, how do you develop an app like clubhouse? What is the best process?
Software development companies like MLSDev start any collaboration with a customer with the Discovery stage (also called pre-development and research).
Software development companies like MLSDev start collaboration with a customer with the Discovery stage (also called pre-development and research).
This phase is designed to identify the needs of clients, their business, as well as their goals and strategies.
The Discovery stage helps build a common understanding of the future product between the client (product owner) and the IT vendor. The Discovery stage provides the following benefits:
- Saves time and cost on the development steps
- Validation and fixing of the business and technical requirements
- Documentation of project functionality and task prioritization
- Documentation of potential risks and their coverage
- Allocation of the required tech expertise and programmers
- Sync between the client and the development team
Once the Discovery stage has been completed, the client receives deliverables like the finalized project concept and product backlog, UX/UI design, project architecture plan, and optional market and competitor analysis.
The allocated team may consist of front-end and back-end developers, QA engineers, a Software Architect, and a Project Manager in the Development stage. This team builds the designed software sprint by sprint, tests it, and releases it according to agile development methodologies.
How to Develop an App like Clubhouse: 9 Key Steps
Most start-ups fall into a general pitfall: they want to duplicate the model app’s functionality and success. However, this is not the best tactic if you want to create an app like Clubhouse.
Rather than duplicate the app’s functionality, you should conduct research and offer something unique, namely:
- Improvement in existing functionality
- Additional features
- Wider choice of platforms (for example, you could create Clubhouse for Android)
- Lower cost for plans, etc.
Specialists foresee a bright future for audio social networks.
This means that there it makes a lot of sense to bring up new ideas in the social networks market or to create an app like Clubhouse. But that's only part of the journey. Other steps include a lot of research, and developing marketing and monetization strategies.
Here are the 6 steps in your journey to create a successful digital project.
1. Research the market
How can you develop an app like clubhouse and make it successful?
The key idea is to check out the demand and the current offerings. Today, the market of social audio apps is in the development stage. The most popular Clubhouse rival is Watercooler. However, Facebook and Twitter are also developing similar services.
2. Select your target audience
Who are the people that love Clubhouse?
As we know, the app found its first fans among techies attracted by the ability to chat with each other without fuss. Now, the Clubhouse audience represents different strata of society.
Try to reach out to the audience that might be interested in your app upfront and even conduct some polls, A/B testing, etc.
3. Finalize the app concept
If you want to know exactly how to make an app like Clubhouse, you have to define the features that make it unique. For example, you can add some functionality or gear the app toward specific audiences (doctors, psychologists, sportsmen, working moms, etc.). For example, the concept uniqueness allowed its founders to create an exclusive ride-sharing Uber app that is now popular worldwide.
4. Decide on app monetization
Think about the ways to make money with your app. The variants include:
- In-app purchases
- Paid access to more features
- Subscription to premium features
5. Specify functionality
Be clear about everything your app will do. It is recommended that you start small, as Clubhouse did.
Their app is still in its beta version and has quite a narrow scope of functionality compared to other social media apps.
Further, you may add additional features to your app. Some Clubhouse clones now try to expand the Clubhouse functionality with stickers and emojis, or propose to add a randomized selection of casual conversations that resembles a lottery.
6. Make an app design intuitive & user-friendly
How do you build an app like Clubhouse that wins over potential users' hearts?
One point is that you have to think over the most convenient, intuitive, user-friendly design. Therefore, hiring an experienced UX/UI designer and applying the latest standards and visual appeal within social network creation is necessary.
Understanding the user experience to serve the initial app’s goal is essential. For instance, the Tinder app focuses on speed with left-right screen swipes in line with the relevant matches. Thus, a user quickly receives relevant information.
Once you develop an app like Clubhouse, it is vital to balance visual appearance, functionality, and navigation specifics on iOS and Android platforms.
7. Decide on the supported platforms
Clubhouse runs on iOS. You may do the same and create a native app for iOS or Android, or both. If you are not sure about creating an app for both platforms from the start, conduct research on which platform will be in demand in the first turn. It would be great to have a web version as well.
8. Ongoing app support and improvement
When you decide on a team to build an app like Clubhouse, you must agree on ongoing support and development.
This team should be able to run updates and create new versions with improved features.
9. Launch a marketing campaign
The news about Clubhouse spread by word-of-mouth, but influencers like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg helped fueled this process. If you don't have people of that scale to talk your app, think about some traditional marketing strategies:
- Attract referrals and influencers
- Run paid ads
- Participate in events
- Create interesting content about your app
- Use the power of social media
Now, we are about to end our query of how to develop an app like Clubhouse. The one thing left is to give you a vision of setting up a project with the development team.
Why Invest in Social-Audio App Development like with Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is the first product of its kind, and history proves that this concept may be repeated successfully numerous times.
The era of social media didn't end with Facebook. Instead, Facebook gave birth to other big and small social media services like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Parler, Minds, and MeWe, 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.
Thinking of creating your own social app like Clubhouse, only better?
If you have an idea for an audio social app that is like Clubhouse but better, and you don't know how to implement it, contact MLSDev for a free estimate of your project's cost and timeline.