Meet Agora, the company powering Clubhouse

Agora is a $10B+ firm that offers “real-time audio and video” APIs. Its stock price has been riding the Clubhouse hype in recent weeks.

Clubhouse is scorching hot right now.

Meet Agora, the company powering Clubhouse

The invite-only social audio app — which lets users conduct real-time conversations or eavesdrop on celebrities and investors — is suddenly everywhere.

While the company is private, those looking to capitalize on its rise have been betting on Agora, a software firm that has seen its market value more than double, rising to $10B+, since the end of January.

Agora makes tools for ‘real-time engagement’

Founded in 2012, the company offers APIs (application programming interfaces) for real-time voice and audio features in only a few lines of code.

It went public last summer with the very relevant ticker $API.

According to investor Justin Caldbeck, Clubhouse was built in 1 week on Agora (Clubhouse does not speak publicly about its tech stack, but a recent Bloomberg article highlights that the connection does exist).

In recent months, Clubhouse has grown to 6m+ users, catalyzed by a Jan. 24 funding round (which valued the startup at $1B) and an appearance by Elon Musk during the GameStop/Robinhood controversy.

And with this growth, Agora has seen its stock price surge.

The tech isn’t just used by Clubhouse…

Per DFT Capital at Seeking Alpha, it powers several billion-dollar firms:

  • Bilibi: A $53B Chinese social video-sharing app
  • New Oriental Education: A $33B Chinese ed-tech firm
  • Yalla: A $5.6B app called the “Clubhouse of the Middle East”

Agora charges on a per-usage basis, which means that the more often people use these services, the more cheddar $API makes (it projects $125-$130m for 2020).

Agora’s founder Tony Zhao is a veteran of WebEx…

… Cisco’s video-chat business that counts Eric Yuan (the founder and CEO of Zoom) among its alumni.

Agora is based in Shanghai — and some observers have raised questions about Clubhouse’s vulnerability to government surveillance. The app has already been blocked in China.

But elsewhere, the hype machine continues.Next up: a Clubhouse chat between 2 soft-spoken people Musk and Kanye West (and maybe Vladimir Putin, too).

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