Neither Patreon nor Clubhouse are ‘music/tech startups’ specifically, but both are highly relevant to our industry and – particularly in Patreon’s case – its artists. And it seems both companies may be rocking the same quadruple-unicorn (is that a thing?) valuation of $4bn with their latest funding rounds.
Only one of those rounds is official at this point. Fan-funding platform Patreon has raised $155m at a $4bn valuation in a round led by Tiger Global Management, with various other VCs chipping in. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that live-audio startup Clubhouse is in talks with investors to raise its next funding round with the same valuation, although the size of the funding is unconfirmed.
In both cases, what’s notable is the rapid increase in their valuations. Clubhouse’s last round, in January this year, valued the company at more than $1bn, so it may have quadrupled its value (in investors’ eyes) in a matter of months, even as big guns like Facebook, Twitter and Spotify piled in to its space. Patreon, meanwhile, was valued at $1.2bn last September when it raised a $90m round, so has more than tripled its valuation since then.
At this level, funding rounds and multi-billion valuations can only fuel speculation about the eventual exits. Earlier this year, Patreon was reported to be considering going public later in 2021, although Clubhouse seems more a candidate for an acquisition by a tech giant – even if Spotify’s recent deal to buy the startup behind sports-focused Locker Room suggests that buying small then building is a viable alternative strategy.
Whatever the outcomes, what links Patreon and Clubhouse is their focus on ‘creator’ economies: whether they’re making music, YouTube videos, podcasts, art, or just have a talent for rabbiting on about NFTs and crypto stonks. Right now, investors are super-hot for creator economies, but that excitement will bring its own challenges as the startups try to balance their growth and the expectations of those investors with the needs of their communities.