There is room in your life for more than just one video conferencing app, according to Houseparty CEO Sima Sistani.
“Sometimes I say, Zoom by day, Houseparty by night.”
Houseparty — like Zoom and other services for video chat — has seen a dramatic rise in usage due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused a wave of work-from-home policies and stay-at-home orders. While Zoom was initially designed for enterprise use, it has become a popular way for people to host virtual happy hours with friends, for example. The company says its daily users went from around 10 million in December to 200 million in March.
“I think there are all different uses cases, and I think it’s so great to see people utilizing video chat to stay connected,” Sistani said.
“It’s about that spontaneous togetherness,” she explained “You pre-define your friend group and when you have a free moment, you just open the app and it notifies your friends that you’re there.”
Sistani, Houseparty’s co-founder who became CEO in March 2019, said she’s been using the app recently to stay in touch with her younger brother, who is a doctor.
“He’s 10 years younger than me and there’s no way he’ll answer a phone call,” she said. “But if he sees a notification, he’s way more likely to just hop in, feels no agenda…. It’s the way that we can stay connected during this time.”
Sistani, who has worked at Yahoo and Tumblr, also addressed alleged security breaches on Houseparty. The company offered a $1 million “bounty reward” last month in response to what it called a “smear campaign.”
“They are false rumors. Houseparty is secure. It’s safe. There’s never been a breach,” she said.
The company was acquired by privately held Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, last June.