Robinhood, the American commission-free brokerage, is gearing up to go public as soon as the first quarter of next year.
Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the company already asked banks to submit proposals for advising the potential initial public offering (IPO). However, the decision is not final yet.
Founded by two Stanford graduates, the California-headquartered company disrupted the trading industry by offering commission-free stock trading services, which mostly attracted novice traders. Over the years, the platform also expanded its offerings to gold, digital currencies and funds.
It claims to have 13 million accounts, mostly of millennials and Gen-Z, a completely new demographic in the trading industry.
Consideration for the public listing came at a time when the trading platform is witnessing a massive demand among the retail traders, especially with the novice traders who jumped into trading amid the Coronavirus lockdown.
Additionally, the success of Robinhood attracted investors who opened up their wallets to heavily fund the startup. The company closed an extended Series G funding round last September, raising $460 million. It was then valued at $11.7 billion.
To date, the company has raised over $2.2 billion from investors like Sequoia, DST Global, Ribbit Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and D1 Capital Partners.
Controversies around Robinhood
Despite the popularity of Robinhood, the platform attracted many critics, mostly due to its client demographics.
Many pointed out that the traders on the platform do not have much financial industry knowledge, and most of them often indulge in taking bets. Furthermore, the company came under fire as one of its 20-year-old clients killed himself, seeing a massive negative balance in his portfolio, which in reality did not show his actual portfolio value or debts.
Last month, almost 2,000 Robinhood accounts were hacked, giving the attackers access to manipulate users’ trades and funds.