Money for nothing and your trades for free?
That's the business plan behind Robinhood, a new app that allows users to buy and sell stocks with $0 commission—yet founders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt aren't aiming to be in the charity business.
"So, Robinhood has many revenue streams on Day One. Those include margin lending, payment for order flow, interest on cash balances. We'll have those on Day One," Tenev said on CNBC's "Halftime Report."
"And in the near future, we'll also have some other monetization strategies that current brokerages aren't using, including API access and premium features for active investors. An important thing to note is that Robinhood isn't focused on profits right now. We're focused on building an awesome user experience. That being said, we have these standard monetization revenue streams, and more to come, in the future as we roll out."
The start-up brokerage has received $3 million in seed funding and is backed by Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Rothenberg Ventures, Tim Draper and Howard Lindzon's Social Leverage, according to the company's website.
Other brokerages with strong online and mobile presences, such as ScottTrade, E-Trade and Schwab, charge $7 to $9.99 per trade with minimum deposits between $500 and $1,000.
Bhatt said that since Robinhood announced its plan in December, more than 150,000 people have joined the waiting list to use the company's no-commission, no-minimum trading platform
The first wave of users would be able to trade beginning Thursday, he said.
"The idea with the waiting list is basically so we can control the rate at which we onboard new customer accounts," he said. "And so we want to basically make sure that—every day that we're onboarding a new wave of customers—that all the systems that we connect to can handle it."
So, why the Robinhood moniker?
"Robinhood is not about 'taking from the rich and giving to the poor.' Instead, it's about allowing everyone to fully share in the fruits of capitalism," its website states. "The name is our way of challenging the status quo. For most of history, institutional investors have had advantages that were unavailable to most individuals. We're changing that with Robinhood."