Houseparty (app)

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Houseparty Logo.svg
Original author(s)Ben Rubin[1]
Developer(s)Life on Air Inc. (Epic Games)
Stable release
Android1.31.2 / April 30, 2019; 23 months ago (2019-04-30)[2]
iOS1.31.0 / April 25, 2019; 23 months ago (2019-04-25)[3]
macOS1.12.2 / April 16, 2019; 23 months ago (2019-04-16)[4]
Operating systemiOS, Android, macOS
Available inEnglish
TypeVideo streaming, social networking service Edit this at Wikidata

Houseparty is a social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat.[1][5] On average, users spend more than 60 minutes per conversation on the app in group or one-on-one chats.[6] It was launched by Life on Air, Inc. in 2016[7][8] and is available on iOS, Android mobile devices, macOS and Google Chrome.[9] Sima Sistani is the company's chief executive officer and co-founder.[10]


In early 2015, Life On Air, Inc., a team headed by founder and CEO Ben Rubin, released the live streaming app Meerkat and raised $12 million in venture capital funding from Greylock Partners.[11][12][13][14] Following the release, the creators began developing a new app called Houseparty that moved "away from public broadcasts in favor of private chats."[15][16]

Houseparty was released to the App Store and Play Store in February 2016 under a pseudonym.[17] It was developed over 10 months with a website redirecting to the Houseparty app in October 2016.[16] The company raised $52 million in venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital in late 2016.[18][19] It was available on macOS as of 2018.[20]

Acquisition and expansion[edit]

Co-founder Sistani was announced as the company's chief executive officer in March 2019 and led the acquisition of Houseparty by Epic Games later that year. Life on Air, Inc. became a subsidiary of Epic Games and the monetary terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.[21][22][23] Sistani noted that Houseparty was being used by Fortnite players, so "the partnership made a lot of sense."[24]

In May 2020, Houseparty announced "In The House", a three-day festival with live at-home performances by celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel and Terry Crews.[25][26]


Houseparty is a "face-to-face social network" where up to eight participants can interact in a single session. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat or float between chat rooms.[27]

During early 2019, the company partnered with Ellen DeGeneres's app, "Heads Up!", which is similar to charades.[28] In the summer of 2020, Houseparty partnered with Mattel to add Magic 8-Ball and the card game, Uno to the app. The app contains other popular games such as Quick Draw, Chips & Guac and trivia games that can be played with friends in a video chat.[29][30]

It has been called the "virtual living room" of apps by The New Yorker.[31]

Usage during COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

As many countries have gone into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, the app has experienced a large increase in popularity.[32] It was downloaded more than 17 million times in March 2020,[27] winning a 2020 Webby Award for "Breakout of the Year".[33] In late March 2020, media outlets reported that Houseparty had been hacked.[34] The report was denied by CEO Sistani stating that "if anyone wanted to know whether we had been hacked, it would be us."[24] According to Fast Company, the app ranked first in Social Networking on the iOS App Store with 50 million downloads through April 2020.[35]


  1. ^ a b "Houseparty: the teen video chat app taking on Facebook". Financial Times. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "Houseparty". Google Play Store. April 30, 2019. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  3. ^ "Apple on the App Store". iTunes Store. April 25, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "Apple on the Mac App Store". Google Play Store. April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  5. ^ Bell, Karissa. "The video chat app that should scare the hell out of Facebook and Snapchat". Mashable. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  6. ^ "Houseparty reports 50M sign-ups in past month amid COVID-19 lockdowns". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  7. ^ "Houseparty brings its group video chat app to Mac". The Verge. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "What is the Houseparty app and how does it work?". Metro. September 12, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "Here's how to use Houseparty, the live video app that teens are going crazy for". Business Insider. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "Houseparty CEO Sima Sistani meets the 'massive technical challenge' of coronavirus video chat demand". Fortune. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  11. ^ "Meerkat, star app of 2015, is officially dead".
  12. ^ Johnson, Eric (March 17, 2018). "Meerkat was the darling of SXSW in 2015. Here's why it pivoted three months later and became Houseparty". Vox.
  13. ^ "Meerkat raises $12 million - Business Insider". Business Insider. March 21, 2015.
  14. ^ "Ben Rubin". Fast Company. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  15. ^ Newton, Casey (March 9, 2015). "Meerkat is a little app that's turning live video into a big deal again". The Verge.
  16. ^ a b "Meerkat live-streaming app 'dead'". BBC News. October 4, 2016.
  17. ^ "Meerkat built a new app in secret, and almost 1 million people are using it". The Verge. September 28, 2016.
  18. ^ "With 1 Million Daily Users, Group Video App Houseparty Could Overtake Snapchat In Race To Attract Post-Millennials". NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News. December 14, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  19. ^ "A startup founder's 'comeback' app is catching fire with teens — and it just got a $50 million check". Business Insider. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "These apps give you the best features of iOS 12 before the update rolls out". Popular Science. June 28, 2018.
  21. ^ Stankiewicz, Kevin (April 17, 2020). "Houseparty CEO says people use 'Zoom by day, Houseparty by night'". CNBC. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  22. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (June 12, 2019). "Fortnite maker Epic Games buys video chat app Houseparty". The Verge. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  23. ^ Rebecca Aydin (June 12, 2019). "Epic Games, the maker of 'Fortnite', acquired teen chat app Houseparty in a surprise deal". Business Insider. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  24. ^ a b Murphy, Margi (April 18, 2020). "Houseparty chief Sima Sistani: 'Rumours that we were hacked are fake news'". The Telegraph. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  25. ^ Medina, Sarah. "Houseparty is throwing a 3-day, star-studded festival this weekend, and it's not just celebs singing". Time Out United States. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  26. ^ Abraham, Rohan. "Houseparty plans a 3-day online fest, featuring Katy Perry, John Legend & Snoop Dogg". The Economic Times. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  27. ^ a b Conklin, Audrey (June 10, 2020). "What is Houseparty?". FOXBusiness. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  28. ^ Cohen, David; 2019 (January 17, 2019). "Houseparty Is Taking Its First Monetization Steps With The Ellen Degeneres Show". Retrieved December 1, 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ Kraus, Rachel. "Techommendation of the week: Games in Houseparty". Mashable. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  30. ^ June 2020, Jitendra Soni. "After the initial party, Houseparty to introduce local content in India". TechRadar. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  31. ^ McIntosh, Fergus. "Zoom Fatigue? Try Houseparty". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  32. ^ Burrows, Matt (March 28, 2020). "Houseparty: How an app has taken over New Zealand and the world thanks to coronavirus". Newshub. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  33. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (May 20, 2020). "Here are all the winners of the 2020 Webby Awards". The Verge. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  34. ^ Griffin, Andrew (March 31, 2020). "Lots of people are saying you should delete Houseparty right now. But should you?". The Independent. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  35. ^ Newman, Jared (April 29, 2020). "Zoom and Houseparty have a rare chance to beat Big Tech at video chat". Fast Company. Retrieved October 16, 2020.

External links[edit]