These days, there's no shortage of stock-trading services available to investors. Now add Robinhood to this crowded field. The Palo Alto-based company offers up a mobile app that lets users buy and sell U.S. stocks and ETFs without any trading fees. The platform is especially attractive to less-wealthy millennials who are interested in investing, but can't afford to spend $7 to $10 per trade with firms like E*trade or TD Ameritrade.
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Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev, former classmates at Stanford University, launched the company in 2013 after starting two other firms selling trading software to hedge funds. Robinhood doesn't have any brick-and-mortar locations — one of the main reasons why it's able to charge a zero commission.
The two-year-old company has more than 2 million users and was recently valued at $1.3 billion. In September it launched Robinhood Gold, a premium paid service for experienced investors that offers margin and extended-hours trading. It's priced at $10 per month, and the company says it is its biggest revenue stream right now, accounting for half of its trading volume. The company recently raised $110 million in funding, led by DST Global. That brings the total amount the company has taken in to $176 million, according to PitchBook. Other investors include Greenoaks Capital, Thrive Capital and New Enterprise Associates.