It's almost a year since TechCrunch broke news that Robinhood was recruiting for a London office ahead of plans to expand to the UK. In August, the US company that pioneered "commission-free" stock trading states announced that it had received government approval to operate this side of the dam, signaling that a UK launch was in fact imminent. Well, now the wait is almost over, with the launch of Robinhood UK waiting list.
In a classic bait and switch PR campaign on Tuesday – set up when Robinhood introduced its investment platform for UK clients, which a number of local journalists, including this one, meant an actual launch – co-founder and co-CEO Vlad Tenev and president for Robinhood UK Wander Rutgers revealed that Robinhood UK will open its doors early next year.
We are very pleased to announce that our waiting list for Robinhood UK is going live, says Tenev. "Customers will be able to sign up for early access to our free commission investment platform in the UK, and it is very interesting to us because it will be our first live international market and a very important step for us to fulfill our mission of democratizing access to it. financial system. "
" We expect the product to be in the hands of customers in the first quarter of next year, "Rutgers explained.
When launched, Robinhood will initially offer what Rutgers described as "the best of Robinhood" to the UK, including, of course, "commission-free" stock trading.
"It starts with our core platform: unlimited commissions releasing trades, no account minimum and access to a wide range of stocks from both the US and from all over the world," he told TechCrunch. Second, we will enable instant deposit, instant trading users can fund very easily from any UK with the help of a phone or debit card and withdraw as easily. "
In addition, the Robinhood UK app will include information to help you trade, including videos from the Wall Street Journal , CNN and Reuters, along with features that help users keep track of their investments, such as price movement alerts, analyst ratings, earnings and being able to dial in revenue reports.
There will also be "snacks", Robinhood's daily podcast and newsletters, and "Robin Hood Goals", fintech's premium subscription service for qualified professional investors.
What is particularly interesting about Robinhood's pending launch in the UK is that it will not be without direct competition. In commission-free investment space, Freetrade was first out of the gate, and has since been joined by Revolut and Bux.
But no doubt about Robinhood's deep pockets, a rising tide could lift all boats in the neo-broker space as these upstarts try to grow the market by introducing new, younger people to invest, and not just stealing customers from established companies that take higher fees.
"We have had great success [in the U.S.] in attracting several types of customers, Sa Tenev." Of course, you know that it is your first-time investor who does not have a broker account before and detects investments through Robinhood's product. And you know, we think there's a good deal of these types of people in the UK as well. And then there are also customers who invest a little more actively and are known the [with] fees … I think will also be able to attract customers from that group. ”
Meanwhile, an intriguing element of any Robinhood-Revolut comparisons is that the two companies share a number of investors, namely Index and DST. Both companies also have incredibly high valuations.
"It's not something we spend a lot of time talking to our investors about," Tenev said when asked if he was concerned that Revolut is now a competitor before delivering standard startup narrative to focus on customers and not competitors.
"We are certainly aware of competitors and you know that we believe there are things we can learn from them, but generally we know that if we focus on the customer and listen to them a lot, we build products that the customers love and .. that ends up working really well. "
But how did Tenev react when they first heard that Revolut launched zero commissions trading?
" I don't really remember the exact reaction I had, but you know competitors and people coming into our room is nothing new to us, ”replied Robinhood co-CEO.