Robinhood (company)

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Robinhood Markets Inc.
Financial Services
FoundedApril 18, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-04-18)
FounderVladimir Tenev (co-founder)
Baiju Bhatt (co-founder)
Key people
Vladimir Tenev (co-founder)
Baiju Bhatt (co-founder)
Electronic trading platform
SubsidiariesRobinhood Financial, LLC.
Robinhood Crypto, LLC.
Robinhood Securities, LLC.

Robinhood Markets Inc, referenced informally as Robinhood, is a U.S.-based financial services company headquartered in Menlo Park, California.[1][2] The company offers the Robinhood smartphone mobile app, which allows individuals to invest in public companies and exchange-traded funds listed on U.S. stock exchanges without paying a commission.[3] The firm is a FINRA-approved broker-dealer,[1] registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.[4] The company's main source of revenue comes from interest earned on customers' cash balances and margin lending.[5][6] Prior to 2019, the company's primary source of revenue was from payment for order flow. However, in a 2018 statement the company announced it was ending this form of revenue generation by developing its own in-house clearing agency.[7] As of its latest funding round in May 2018, the company was valued at $5.6 billion,[8] but in May 2019, reports from Bloomberg and other outlets publicized Robinhood’s pursuit of an additional $200 million in funding, which could value the company in the $7 billion to $10 billion range.[9]

In September 2018, the company's co-founders announced plans to take the company public in 2019.[10][11]

The app has gone under scrutiny for establishing a checking account that offers high interest rates as it is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.[12][13]


Robinhood operates a website and mobile apps for iPhone,[14] Apple Watch,[15] and Android.[16] The company has no storefront offices and operates entirely online.


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.[4][17]

In December 2013 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.[3][17][18][19] Initially the firm had a waiting list, and in under 30 days there were 100,000 signups.[20][self-published source?] In mid-to-late February 2014, co-founders Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev were on CNBC and Bloomberg TV.[21]

By September 2014, the waiting list had reached 500,000 people.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] Fifty percent of users who have made a trade use the app daily and 90% come back to the app weekly.[25]

As of February 2017, the company had executed over $30 billion in trades.[5] In April 2017, Robinhood raised $110 million at a $1.3 billion valuation led by Yuri Milner from DST Global,[26] and Greenoaks Capital and Thrive Capital.[27]

In August 2017, the company began offering free stocks in exchange for referring new users.[28]

On January 25, 2018, the company announced a waitlist for commission-free cryptocurrency trading.[29][30][31] As of 9:00PM on January 25, 2018 the waitlist for enabling the feature grew to more than 1,250,000.[32] The month, Robinhood began offering commission-free trading of Bitcoin and Ethereum to users in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Montana.[33] In May 2018, Robinhood expanded its Crypto trading platform to Wisconsin and New Mexico.[34]

By February 2018, Robinhood had 3 million user accounts, around the same number as the online broker E-Trade.[35] On May 10, 2018, closed a $363 million Series D financing round led by DST Global.[36] As of May 2018, Robinhood had raised a total of $539 million in venture capital funding, with the last valuation at $5.6 billion, up from their previous evaluation of $1.3 billion.[36]

In June 2018, it was reported that the company was in talks to obtain a US banking license, with a spokesperson from the company claiming the company was in "constructive" talks with the U.S. OCC.[37] In December Robinhood announced checking and savings accounts, with debit cards in partnership with Ohio-based Sutton Bank, to be available in early 2019.[38] Robinhood initially claimed the accounts would be SIPC insured, which the SIPC denied.[39] The products were rebranded as "cash management" the next day.[40] In January 2019 the waitlist and sign up page were removed from the app.[41] It plans to relaunch the account later in 2019.[42]


Payment for order flow[edit]

A Wall Street Journal article found that Robinhood "appears to be taking more cash for orders than rivals," by up to a 60-to-1 ratio, according to its regulatory filings.[43]

Bloomberg News reported in October 2018 that Robinhood receives almost half of its revenue from payment for order flow.[44] The company later confirmed this on its corporate website when asked by CNBC.[45]

Security Breach[edit]

In July 2019, Robinhood admitted to storing customer passwords in cleartext and in readable form across their internal systems, according to emails it sent to affected customers. Robinhood declined to say how many customers were affected by the error and claims that it did not find any evidence of abuse.[46]


  1. ^ a b Gannes, Liz (September 23, 2014). "With $13 Million, Robinhood Aims to Share the Stock-Trade Wealth". Recode.
  2. ^ "Robinhood lures digital coin traders from Coinbase with a free service". Digital Trends. February 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Constine, Josh (December 18, 2013). "Robinhood App Will Offer Zero-Commission Stock Trades Thanks To $3M Seed From Index And A16Z". TechCrunch.
  4. ^ a b Touryalai, Halah (26 February 2014). "Forget $10 Trades, Meet Robinhood: New Brokerage Targets Millennials With Little Cash". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b MORRISSEY, JANET (February 18, 2017). "With No Frills and No Commissions, Robinhood App Takes On Big Brokerages". New York Times.
  6. ^ Kane, Logan. "Robinhood Is Making Millions Selling Out Their Millennial Customers To High-Frequency Traders". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  7. ^ "What's Clearing by Robinhood". Robinhood. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  8. ^ Lynley, Matthew (2018-05-10). "Free stock trading app Robinhood rockets to a $5.6B valuation with new funding round". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^ "Robinhood Is Set to Raise at Least $200 Million in New Funding". 2019-06-07. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  10. ^ Constine, Josh. "Robinhood aims at IPO as the fintech startup seeks CFO". TechCrunch. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  11. ^ Rooney, Kate (September 6, 2018). "Robinhood is on the path to IPO and is searching for a CFO". CNBC. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  12. ^ Kauflin, Jeff (December 13, 2018). "In A Bold Asset Grab, Robinhood Offers 3% Interest On Checking And Savings Accounts". Forbes. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  13. ^ Verhage, Julie (December 14, 2018). "Investing App Robinhood Is Facing 'Serious Concerns' Over Its New Checking Account With 3% Interest". Time Money. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  14. ^ WOHLSEN, MARCUS (11 December 2014). "Stock Trading for the Touch-ID Era Has Finally Arrived". Wired.
  15. ^ Tweedie, Steven (24 April 2015). "Best new Apple Watch apps I should download first". Business Insider.
  16. ^ "Robinhood stock trading comes to web with finance news for its 3M users – TechCrunch". Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  17. ^ a b Carney, Michael (December 28, 2013). "Robinhood gets $3M to take from Wall St. and give to Main St. with its mobile-first, zero-commission brokerage". PandoDaily.
  18. ^ Matherson, Nate (December 17, 2013). "Robinhood Opens Investing Doors to Wall Street's 'Hood".
  19. ^ GRANT, REBECCA (December 28, 2013). "Robinhood's pitch to millennials: free stock trading".
  20. ^ "Robinhood on Twitter". Twitter.
  21. ^ Navarro, Brian J. (February 27, 2014). "Robinhood, a new app, offers free stock trades". CNBC.
  22. ^ Wohlsen, Marcus (September 23, 2014). "New App Wants to Make Trading Stocks as Easy as Posting Selfies". Wired.
  23. ^ Roberts, Daniel (March 12, 2015). "Robinhood, an investing app, is luring stock-market newbies". Fortune.
  24. ^ Huang, Daniel (January 6, 2015). "Young, Poor and Looking to Invest? Robinhood Is the App for That". Wall Street Journal.
  25. ^ Constine, Josh (September 23, 2014). "Robinhood Raises $13M To Democratize Stock Market With Zero-Commission Trading App". TechCrunch. AOL.
  26. ^ McBride, Sarah (April 26, 2017). "Robinhood's Stock Trading App Is Valued at $1.3 Billion". Bloomberg News.
  27. ^ Irrera, Anna (April 26, 2017). "Trading startup Robinhood raises $110 million in new funding round". Reuters.
  28. ^ Constine, Josh (April 26, 2017). "Robinhood stock-trading app confirms $110M raise at $1.3B valuation". TechCrunch.
  29. ^ Cheng, Evelyn (25 January 2018). "Stock trading app Robinhood to launch bitcoin, ethereum trading in five states". CNBC. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  30. ^ John Roberts, Jeff (25 January 2018). "Robinhood, the Investing App for Millennials, to Add Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies". Fortune. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  31. ^ Perlstein, Sharone (2018-03-19). "Robinhood, the Microfinance giant bets on Bitcoin". Sharone Perlstein. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  32. ^ "Invest in Bitcoin & other cryptocurrencies, 24/7 & commission-free". Robinhood. 25 January 2018.
  33. ^ "Robinhood Opens Cryptocurrency Trading". 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  34. ^ "Robinhood's Crypto Trading Platform Expands to Wisconsin and New Mexico | Finance Magnates". Finance Magnates | Financial and business news. 2018-05-07. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  35. ^ Chafkin, Max; Verhage, Julie (2018-02-08). "Brokerage App Robinhood Thinks Bitcoin Belongs in Your Retirement Plan". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  36. ^ a b Lynley, Matthew (2018-05-10). "Free stock trading app Robinhood rockets to a $5.6B valuation with new funding round". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  37. ^ "Robinhood in Talks With Regulators to Offer Bank Products". Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  38. ^ Robinhood launches no-fee checking/savings with Mastercard & the most ATMs. TechCrunch. 13 December 2018.
  39. ^ Robinhood said to not be properly insured to offer checking & savings. TechCrunch. 14 December 2018.
  40. ^ A Letter From Our Founders. 14 December 2018.
  41. ^ Robinhood quietly stops users from signing up for cash accounts amid scrutiny from regulators. MarketWatch. 2 January 2019.
  42. ^ Robinhood Plans Relaunch of High Yield Cash Account. Fortune. 17 July 2019.
  43. ^ Beilfuss, Alexander Osipovich and Lisa. "Why 'Free Trading' on Robinhood Isn't Really Free". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-08-24.
  44. ^ Foxman, Simone (October 16, 2018). "Robinhood Gets Almost Half Its Revenue in Controversial Bargain With High-Speed Traders". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  45. ^ "CNBC: How Robinhood Makes Money". CNBC. January 16, 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  46. ^ Cimpanu, Catalin. "Robinhood admits to storing some passwords in cleartext". ZDNet. Retrieved 2019-08-24.

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