Robinhood Markets Inc., or simply Robinhood, is a U.S.-based financial services company headquartered in Menlo Park, California. The company offers the Robinhood smartphone mobile app, which allows individuals to invest in publicly traded companies and exchange-traded funds listed on U.S. stock exchanges without paying a commission. The company makes money from interest earned on customers' cash balances and margin lending.
|Headquarters||Menlo Park, California|
Vladimir Tenev (co-founder)|
Baiju Bhatt (co-founder)
|Industry||Finance and Insurance|
|Alexa rank||5,128 (August 2018[update])|
|Launched||April 18, 2013 in Palo Alto, California|
After an April 2017 fundraising, Robinhood had a $1.3 billion valuation. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2018 that the company had closed another round of financing that valued the company at $5.6 billion.
The firm was founded by Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt who had previously built high-frequency trading platforms for financial institutions in New York City. Tenev and Bhatt realized that high-frequency traders and electronic trading firms pay effectively nothing to execute trades. This inspired Tenev and Bhatt to bring existing technology to the retail brokerage market with Robinhood, a commission free stock brokerage. As of March 2016, it had nearly one million customers.
As of August 9, 2017, the company began offering free stocks in exchange for referring new users.
On June 22, 2018, it was reported that Robinhood were in talks to obtain a US banking license, with a spokesperson from the company claiming they were in "constructive" talks with the U.S. OCC.
Robinhood operates a mobile app that allows customers to buy and sell stocks on U.S. exchanges commission-free and started offering free access to extended market trading from August 2018. The app is available for iPhone, Apple Watch, and Android.
Robinhood is available on mobile and on web.
To keep costs down, the company has no storefront offices and does not provide research reports or analytical tools on its platform.
Robinhood Gold is a premium margin account which increases buying power for a subscription paid monthly based on tiers.
Robinhood launched out of stealth on the crowdsourced technology news website Hacker News, leading to articles about the company in TechCrunch, PandoDaily, VentureBeat, TheStreet and others. Initially the firm had a waiting list, and in under 30 days there were 100,000 signups.[self-published source?] In mid-to-late February 2014, co-founders Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev were on CNBC and Bloomberg TV.
By September 2014, the waiting list had reached 500,000 people. In March 2015, the company announced those still on the waitlist could create accounts and any U.S. residents, 18 and older, could apply for an account.
As of January 2015, 80% of the firm's customers belonged to the demographic "millennials" (people between the ages 18 and 29) and the average customer age was 26. Fifty percent of users who have made a trade use the app daily and 90% come back to the app weekly.
As of 2017, the company had executed over $30 billion in trades.
On January 25, 2018, the company announced a waitlist for commission free cryptocurrency trading. Immediately, users who enable the feature are able to track the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and 13 other cryptocurrencies. As of 9:00PM on January 25, 2018 the waitlist for enabling the feature grew to more than 1,250,000.
On February 22, Robinhood began offering commission-free trading of Bitcoin and Ethereum to users in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Montana. In May 2018, Robinhood expanded its Crypto trading platform to Wisconsin and New Mexico.
Robinhood has raised a total of $176 million in venture capital funding.
Robinhood raised an additional $13 million in Series A funding in September 2014. Jan Hammer of Index Ventures led the round and joined the Robinhood board. Also joining the round were Ribbit Capital; Howard Lindzon, co-founder of StockTwits and general partner at Social Leverage; Aaron Levie, founder of Box; Dave Morin, founder of Path; Jared Leto; Snoop Dogg; and Nas of QueensBridge Venture Partners.
Robinhood raised an additional $50 million in Series B funding in May 2015, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Existing investors Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital and Social Leverage joined the round, along with new investor Vaizra Investments. As part of the financing, NEA General Partner Kittu Kolluri joined the Board of Directors.
In April 2017, Robinhood announced they raised $110 million at a $1.3 billion valuation led by Yuri Milner from DST Global, and Greenoaks Capital and Thrive Capital, the venture capital firm founded by Josh Kushner, the brother of Jared Kushner, a senior adviser and son-in-law to U.S. President Donald Trump. 
Questions regarding SEC filings have led some to accuse Robinhood of selling user data to High-Frequency Traders (HFTs) and concealing this income stream via unusual reporting standards. This would allow front running of the trades by the HFTs. 
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