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Fintech keeps minting billionaires as Robinhood co-founders are preparing for massive IPO

Robinhood co-founders are preparing for massive IPO

July 21, 2021: -For many years, Silicon Valley takes on the banking incumbents with promises of a better customer experience. Still, it’s only now that emerging trading apps, payment upstarts, and online lenders are achieving big public market valuations. Already this year, the co-founders of Coinbase have joined the billionaire ranks, along with the founders of Affirm and Marqeta. Now, it’s time for Robinhood. Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, the roommates at Stanford nearly a decade ago, are each poised to be worth nearly $2.6 billion on paper when their trading app debuts on the Nasdaq this month. That’s based on the $40-pershare midpoint of its price range given in its updated IPO prospectus on Monday.

According to the filing, CEO Tenev and chief creative officer Bhatt will each own 7.9% of the company’s outstanding shares. They’re also each selling almost $50 million worth of shares in the offering.

It has been a banner year for tech listings. Around 12 companies went public through an IPO, direct listing, or particular purpose acquisition company to attain a market capitalization of $10 billion or more. Between the companies and a few others with lower valuations, the tech industry has minted 16 billionaires this year.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong owns stock in his cryptocurrency app, which is worth $8.7 billion after the direct listing of the company in April. Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of the company with Armstrong in 2012, is the owner of a $2.7 billion stake. Marqeta CEO Jason Gardner is worth nearly $2 billion after taking his payment technology company public last month. In comparison, Affirm’s Max Levchin owns shares valued at over $1.5 billion in his online lender, which held its IPO in January.

“Our market is seeing a sea change, with consumers that we never thought would be embracing digital finance engaging with it in a big way,” Plaid CEO and co-founder Zach Perret told CNBC when the latest financing round was announced in April.

Robinhood said it is planning to sell shares at $38 to $42 each before its expected Nasdaq debut in the coming week. That could value Robinhood at up to $35 billion, up from a private market valuation of $11.7 billion in September.

Users flocked to Robinhood in the first quarter as crypto trading volumes soared. The popularity of meme stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment led millions of new traders to the app. At the end of March, Robinhood had 17.7 million monthly active users, up from 11.7 million at the close of 2020.

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