Robinhood is an investing platform created by Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev — two college roommates at Stanford. After graduating, they landed on Wall Street where they were hit with a stark reality: big firms were paying almost nothing in trades, yet they were making a ton of profit off of the hefty commissions they charged investors.
Just as the folk hero Robin Hood gave to the poor, Bhatt and Tenev set out to create the Robinhood app — a platform that would give everyday people access to the stock market, not just the wealthy.
The Robinhood app has been around since 2014. And as with most platforms driven by technology, it’s only gotten more robust over time. Here are seven interesting facts you should know about it.
The Robinhood app is more than just an investing platform.
Robinhood may have started out as an investing platform for beginners, but it’s blossomed into a full-fledged investing and banking platform. In December 2019, the app released its very first cash management account called Robinhood Spend. It offers:
- 0.3% APY on your total account balance
- Mastercard debit card
- 75,000+ free ATMs
- No hidden fees
- FDIC insurance
Robinhood also offers premium investing features like options and cryptocurrency trading, as well as a Gold membership tier for investors who want access to more tools and perks.
It pioneered commission-free trades.
Okay, commission-free investing isn’t quite as dazzling a feature as it once was. Pretty much every platform is offering it these days. But it’s still worth mentioning considering Robinhood was one of the first platforms to offer it.
Still, it’s not completely fee-free. You’ll pay $5 a month if you upgrade to Robinhood Gold (Robinhood’s premium membership plan). Plus, $75 if you decide Robinhood Isn’t for you and transfer your account somewhere else.
And as with any platform, there are also some miscellaneous fees for paper statements, overnight mail, and so on, but you shouldn’t need those services often (if ever at all).
The Robinhood app is good for beginners.
Bhatt and Tenev created the Robinhood app because they believe “everyone should have equal access to financial tools. Regardless of how much money you intend to invest.” Even as the app has grown and gained attention, this is still at the heart of its mission.
It’s put a focus on education over the years — and you’ll find an entire hub on its website dedicated to investing basics. It’s a great resource for new investors who need help understanding even the most basic fundamentals of how the stock market works.
It also puts out a daily email newsletter called Robinhood Snacks, which features a 3-minute take on the financial news you need to start your day. It’s very Gen Z and Millennial-forward, with attention-grabbing subject lines like “🦄 Rihanna’s unicorn status” and “🍰 Big Tech’s big ad slice.”
But it’s also good for experienced investors, too.
Robinhood Gold is a premium membership tier created for more experienced investors who are ready to up their investing game.
Through Robinhood Gold, investors get access to:
- Bigger instant deposits: Access $5,000 to $50,000 instantly, depending on your account balance.
- Level II market data: See multiple bids and ask prices for any given stock straight from NASDAQ.
- Professional research: Get in-depth research reports from Morningstar on more than 1,700 stocks.
- Investing on margin: Gain some financial leverage and extra buying power when you trade on margin.
Robinhood Gold costs $5 a month and includes up to $1,000 to trade on margin. You’ll pay a 2.5% annual fee for margin trades over $1,000.
You can own a piece of any stock — no matter how large — with Robinhood’s fractional shares.
A lot of people are intimidated by investing because they think they need thousands of dollars to start. But with Robinhood’s fractional shares, you can own pieces of even the most expensive stocks with as little as $1. In other words, you can buy a slice without having to save up for the whole pie!
Take Amazon stock, for example. It costs $3,365 as of August 4, 2021. If you don’t have $3K to blow on a single stock but still want a little bit of that Bezos action, you can buy as much (or as little) as you want using fractional shares.
It just launched IPO Access — a feature that lets you request shares in a company before they go public.
The Robinhood app just released a new feature called IPO Access. With this tool, you can buy shares in new companies before their stock starts trading on public exchanges — all while being a regular investor. There are no minimum balance or special status requirements to get started. All you need is a Robinhood account.
BONUS: Robinhood just went public!
Robinhood officially went public as it debuted on the NASDAQ on July 29, 2021, under the ticker symbol HOOD. It sold IPO shares beforehand at $38 per share, raising almost $2 billion. It’s currently trading at $55 as of August 6, 2021.
Have you tried out the Robinhood app before? If so, what’d you think? Would you recommend it to others? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter.