- YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, AKA MrBeast, gave away $10,000 to a stranger on Clubhouse on Tuesday.
- The winner was a 25-year-old associate at a venture capital firm based in Chicago.
- Abhinaya Konduru says she plans to inject the money into charities and early-stage startups.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Clubhouse is fast-becoming the tech industry’s internet water cooler, a destination for investors and founders to talk about their work and the news. So it’s maybe not surprising that when a YouTube star popped into the chat app on Tuesday and pledged to give away $10,000 to a random listener, he picked a venture capitalist out of thousands to win it.
Jimmy Donaldson, also known by his username, MrBeast, joined “The Good Time Show” on Clubhouse to talk about his rise as one of the most-viewed and highly-paid creators on YouTube.
Donaldson teased the giveaway at the top of the show, but Abhinaya Konduru, a senior associate at M25, didn’t catch it because she joined late, she told Insider. A longtime fan of Donaldson’s channel, she did a cardio workout as she listened.
In the last few minutes of the show, Konduru finished her workout and hopped in the shower.
Meanwhile, Donaldson told listeners he was scrolling through a list of users who were tuned in and selected her name. He took a screenshot and texted it to the show’s co-host, Andreessen Horowitz partner Sriram Krishnan, to announce.
A drumroll sound effect played. And Krishan declared Konduru the winner of $10,000.
Konduru, who was in the bathroom, missed it. By the time she got out, Konduru’s phone was blowing up with text messages from her friends.
“They were just asking me what are you going to do about the money,” Konduru said. “I had no idea what was actually happening.”
They told her to go check Twitter. She found a recording of the show on YouTube — so far, Clubhouse doesn’t allow users to play back conversations on the app — and fast-forwarded to the moment Krishnan named her the winner.
‘Randomness at best’
At just 25 years old, Konduru is an investor at M25, where she sources deals and works closely with founders at the firm’s portfolio companies. She joined the firm out of college at University of Illinois, Chicago, in its early years.
Based in Chicago, M25 invests exclusively in software and tech-enabled startups with headquarters in the Midwest. It’s one of the most active venture firms between the coasts with more than 100 investments, according to Konduru.
Before she was an investor, Konduru tried to build a following on YouTube. She had a short-lived web series called “Hustlepreneur,” in which she followed millennial entrepreneurs for a day and vlogged about the experience.
She started following Donaldson’s channel in college and says she’s now a “huge fan of MrBeast.”
“He’s a pioneer,” Konduru said.
She’s been especially impressed with his latest venture, MrBeast Burgers. Donaldson created a menu of burgers and fried chicken sandwiches and has partnered with hundreds of mom-and-pop restaurants, struggling to stay open in the pandemic, to serve the exclusive items.
Donaldson started following Konduru on Twitter, and she said she direct messaged him on Wednesday morning.
“I said something along the lines of, ‘randomness at best!'” she said.
Earlier in the show, Donaldson dropped out of the conversation on Clubhouse because of technical issues and was unable to rejoin. Krishnan tweeted that Donaldson “might have melted down Clubhouse’s servers.”
Clubhouse employees “worked furiously” to get Donaldson back into the room, he said, and eventually, it worked.
Here’s how she plans to spend the $10,000
Konduru told Insider she hasn’t received the money yet, and she’s working out the logistics with Donaldson.
Still, she’s already dreaming about how to spend it.
“I will definitely not be keeping it,” she said. “I think this goes back into the ecosystem.”
She plans to divide the money among a few organizations and individuals close to her heart, including:
- 1 for 2 Education Foundation, which awards college scholarships and asks the recipients to pay it forward one day by helping to fund scholarships for two more college students.
- Aarti for Girls, a foundation that provides shelter and education for orphaned girls in India.
- Zette Media, an early-stage startup working on a subscription service for reading articles behind paywalls.
- Women in VC, the largest self-reported database of female investors.
Lastly, Konduru plans to give monetary gifts to four friends she originally met on YouTube who are trying to make a living by creating videos, in order to help them cover their production costs.
Are you a Clubhouse insider with insight to share? Contact Melia Russell via email at [email protected] or on Signal at (603) 913-3085. Open DMs on Twitter @meliarobin.
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