Commission-free stock trading app Robinhood raises $50m

Commission-free stock trading app Robinhood raises $50m

Robinhood, the Silicon Valley startup behind a no-commission stock trading app, has raised $50 million in funding and set its sights on an Australian launch.

New Enterprise Associates led the funding round and was joined by existing investors Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, and Social Leverage. The firm has now raised a total $66 million, with Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures as well as celebs Jared Leto and Snoop Dogg among its backers.

With traditional retail brokerages such as E*Trade charging fees of anything up to $10 a trade, Robinhood has attracted strong interest for its iPhone and Apple Watch apps since launching in December, claiming hundreds of thousands of members - a quarter of which are first-time investors. More than $50 million has already been transacted through the platform.

Having established a foothold in the States, the firm is preparing to begin the regulatory approval process ahead of an Australian launch later this year, inviting locals to sign up for a waitlist for a service that will give them access to US listed stocks and ETFs without being charged per trade.

Baiju Bhatt, co-founder, Robinhood, says: "With an average age of 26 among our community members, Robinhood has been a game changer for empowering young people to explore the stock market and open their first investment account. We’re thrilled that Australians will have access to this new way to invest in the US stock market."

Eventually, Robinhood plans to make money by offering margin trading, letting other firms build apps on top of its API, and delivering trade flow to exchanges. It may also start charging for some "premium" services at some point.

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 12 May, 2015, 13:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

On paper, the prospects for Robinhood appear very bright.

On paper because electronic stock trading is one of those areas where tech mediation solves real problems for consumers (e.g. lack of visibility into trade price). After being around for 15+ years, common wisdom would suggest that etrading would've wiped out conventional trading by now. But, it hasn't. I find that telephone orders are still du jour in the consumer trading market. I doubt if high brokerage is the only thing going against etrading since there are many discount brokers - e.g. TD Ameritrade in USA, icicidirect in India - who charge a fraction of the $10 per trade charged by the costlier ones. 

Hope Robinhood has figured out all the other hurdles that stand in the way of driving a more widespread adoption of etrading by the common man.