FinTech profile: Robinhood, the commission-free pioneer

By Matt High
At the start of the month we published our list of the top 10 unicorns in the financial services. Here, we take a closer look at one of them: Robinhood...

At the start of the month we published our list of the top 10 unicorns in the financial services. Here, we take a closer look at one of them: Robinhood

Robinhood is the California-based FinTech that allows its users to invest in public companies and exchange-traded funds on US stock exchanges without paying commission, foreign exchange fees or account minimums.

It also enables them to purchase cryptocurrencies and now has a range of banking products that include checking and savings accounts and debits.

Robinhood, much like it's famous namesake, believes that money should be fair for all. Or, as it more succinctly puts it, "we believe everyone should be able to invest".

Commission-free pioneers

The company was established in 2013 by Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, pioneering commission-free investing by building its own technology from scratch. Reinforcing the message behind the business, Tenev has been famously referenced as noting that executing a trade costs brokerages fractions of a penny, but that they then typically charge as much at $10 per trade; that's before you include the required $500 to $5,000 account minimums.

Since establishment, the company has been on a steady path to becoming a unicorn. Funding rounds include raising $110mn in April 2017 and the closing of a $363mn Series D round in May 2018.

As of May 2018, it was reported that Robinhood has raised a total of $539mn in venture capital funding and was valued at $5.6bn. 

Let's trade

Robinhood is a commission-free investing platform that, through its dedicated app, allows users to make unlimited trades in shares of over 3,500 US stocks, as well as more than 1,000 global stocks - this includes those listed on NYSE, Nasdaq and several over the counter stocks.

It offers no commission or foreign exchange fees, no account minimums and is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive to fulfill Robinhood's 'finance for all' ethos. 

Currently more than 10 million customers trade with the company and, early this year, the service will be available in the UK

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