Watch Out E*TRADE: The Millennials Are Coming For You by Jenna Abdou


A single share of Berkshire Hathaway A, one of the world’s leading stocks, costs $223,800.02 today. 

For most of us, $223,800.02 far exceeds our investing budget, making trading stocks feel like a luxury reserved for Wall Street’s wealthiest traders. Until now. 

Meet Robinhood: A zero commission stock trading app making investing a reality for all of us. 

The idea for Robinhood evolved similarly to most disruptive startups. After working in the financial industry, co-founders and former college roommates Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev became obsessed with democratizing the market. 

Could we do something bigger than this? Couldn’t we try to do something a little better than this?

Baiju and Vlad prior to Robinhood

Fortunately for us, that’s exactly what they did. 

As a young investor, I’ve been intrigued by Robinhood since I learned about the app in September.

Finally, I can explore the stock market on my own, through a medium that’s comfortable for me, and most importantly, without the commitment. 

Millennials’ reception to the app has been immense. Robinhood's average user is 27 years old, the demographic ranges to 35, and a quarter of them are first time investors. 

With over 500,000 people signing up for Robinhood’s waitlist before the company’s official launch in December, and the 292,710 users who have newly requested invites, any concern that young people aren't interested in investing has been eliminated. 

Robinhood’s beautiful design, simple interface, and no fees indicate that the app is specifically tailored to our generation.



In an effort to eliminate the stigma that one can only monitor and purchase stocks while staring at eight computer screens, scribbling notes, and keeping an inhaler close by for unanticipated panic attacks, Baiju and Vlad were adamant about going mobile first.

Inspired by the likes of Instagram and SnapChat, they designed Robinhood to be functional in 30 second use cases. Thus once a user is logged in (the app uses touch ID for authentication), they can monitor, purchase, and add stocks to their watch list in 30 seconds or less. Impressive, right? 

Headquartered in Palo Alto, the Robinhood team is hyper-focused on executing their mission. 

The team’s set their goals high for 2015 as they plan to release apps for web and Android, while rolling out more advanced features like margin trading and recurring deposits. Additionally, Robinhood's API will be available for select partners.  

In terms of profitability - the big question surrounding the app’s future success - Baiju emulated Super Bowl champion Tom Brady when he confidently explained that trading fees only amount to 15 - 30 % of large organizations revenue. Meaning, that by removing these fees and monetizing through alternative avenues Robinhood not only plans to beat their competitors, they expect to be 15% bigger too. 

To learn more about Robinhood’s mission to change stock trading tune in to Baiju’s 33founders interview, where he addresses disrupting the financial industry, growing the team, and overcoming uncertainty as an entrepreneur. 




Further Reading
  • How MeUndies Made Merchandising Their Competitive Advantage — When MeUndies thinks about their underwear subscription service they compare themselves to Netflix. What the streaming pioneer did for TV, the Los Angeles startup wants to do to your underwear drawer. The goal is to provide monthly subscribers with the staples they love while delivering elements of surprise - Think briefs with donuts and dinosaurs - right to your doorstep.
  • Seedling Relies on Childhood Curiosity to Inspire a Creative Team — On a recent flight home, I spent over an hour browsing a children’s play website, completely enamored by sets like Design Your Own Superhero Cape and Invent Your Own Insects. After sharing Seedling with everyone I know, despite few of my friends having children, I wondered why the brand struck a such a meaningful chord with me.
  • eero Designs Wi-Fi for the Smart Home Era — Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Principal at Shasta Ventures, recently distinguished exceptional founders by their ability to prioritize. “It all comes back to prioritization, speed, paranoia, and knowing that if you don’t iterate, even after finding product market fit, you can be disrupted by the next product,” he says.


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