Agora shares soar as investors try to jump on Clubhouse app’s growth

The invitation-only audio-chat social networking app Clubhouse is pictured on a smartphone on January 26, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.

Thomas Trutschel | Photothek | Getty Images

The invite-only audio social media app Clubhouse has blown up since its 2020 launch, and retail investors are taking note.

Investors could be playing up the privately held app’s popularity by buying shares in Agora, which may have powered the app’s livestreaming audio features, and Clubhouse Media Group, which isn’t connected to the social media app but has a similar name. Shares of Agora surged more than 44% on Monday to hit an all-time high of $81.48 per share. Clubhouse Media soared more than 116% to a high of $17.99 a piece.

Spokespeople for Clubhouse and Agora did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation on whether the app actually uses Agora’s software.

Clubhouse, the social media app, is similar to a live, unfiltered podcast. You log into the app and can jump into different “rooms” where live discussions are happening around a variety of topics. The app’s still in its infancy, and most of the discussions are about technology, entrepreneurship and other Silicon Valley matters.

The company, valued at $1 billion, has reported strong user growth since its inception, now at more than 2 million. It most recently saw a surge in activity early Monday ET, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined the platform to discuss a range of topics.

Musk’s arrival could likely be behind Monday’s stock surge in what some believe to be associated companies, considering Musk has a strong history of mentioning a publicly traded company and sending shares up. In the past week, Musk’s nods to Etsy, CD Projekt, GameStop and even the cryptocurrency bitcoin have pushed prices higher.

Now, people want in on monetizing Clubhouse’s growth.

“It’s not widely [known], but the app was reportedly built on Agora’s application program interface (api’s) in a week. The ticker is also API. Agora has a usage-based model rather than subscription, so as minutes go up they make more money. If the reports are true, seems like an under-the-radar way to play Clubhouse’s growth,” a user posted last week on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, which is behind the recent GameStop mania.

At the same time, Clubhouse Media is jumping. The stock is up about 50% year to date. It’s unclear whether investors are pouring into the stock because they think it’s the social media company, or if they’re buying stock on the assumption others will believe it’s the social media app.

Similar confusion happened recently in a mixup between Signal, the encrypted-messaging app, and Signal Advance. Before that, investors mixed up Zoom Video Communications and Zoom Technologies.

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