Unless you were some hotshot finance person in the 1980s, you probably only recently started using your mobile phone to place trades. Unlike in the 1987 film, Wall Street, you don’t need to hold a cinder block-sized cell phone up to your head to talk to a down-and-out stockbroker willing to claw their way to the top. (Spoiler alert.)
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Today your broker is probably an API which wears a user interface to work in a mobile app to do your bidding. Finance is still all handshakes and signatures, but now they’re between server and client and sealed cryptographically.
Robinhood makes one of these apps. Based in San Francisco, the company is among the leading contenders looking to unseat established online brokerages by offering commission fee-free trading, asset classes including options and cryptocurrencies, and other features largely aimed at new investors.
In a brief press release posted to the company’s blog, Robinhood announced it has raised $323 million in Series E financing, valuing the company at $7.6 billion, post-money. That valuation is upward of 36 percent higher than the company secured following its Series D round announced in May 2018.
Including this round, Robinhood has raised $862 million in venture backing since it was founded in 2013, according to Crunchbase data.
DST Global led the Series E financing as a returning investor; the firm, founded by Russian tech billionaire Yuri Milner, led both Robinhood’s Series C and Series D rounds. The company said that New Enterprise Associates, Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, and Thrive Capital participated in the funding round.
Since its last round a little over a year ago, Robinhood says it’s made significant business progress. The upstart exchange platform rolled out its own clearing platform, launched a premium subscription offering with enriched market data provided by Nasdaq, and introduced multi-leg options strategies to its users. In March, Robinhood acquired MarketSnacks (now “Robinhood Snacks”) to start its own in-house financial news publication.
“We’ll use the funding to keep pursuing our mission of democratizing finance for all,“ the company said.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias