Robinhood, the free stock-trading app that counts Google Ventures as one of its chief investors, has finally launched on Android after being available on iOS for months. The app had launched on Apple’s mobile platform last year after over a year of beta-testing. The app’s claim to fame is that it forgoes charges of buying and selling stocks unlike traditional brokerage firms like Charles Schwab, Fidelity or Scottrade, which typically charge a commission between $7 and $10 for every trade executed through their firm. The app claims to be a roaring success on Apple’s platform since its official launch in December last year, and says that it now has ‘hundreds of thousands’ of users who’ve traded stocks worth over $1 billion through its platform, which has saved them a total of $22 million in brokerage fees.
The company started beta-testing the app on iOS in 2013 and generated enough interest among users to have over half a million people sign-up to be on the waiting list. The company is said to have attracted $16 million in VC funding from big-name investors like Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures. The app itself is said to have a green and white color scheme and an easy on the eye interface including its own interpretation of Google’s material design language. The app can show a particular stock’s market performance over a period of time depending on the timeframe chosen by the user. It will also show users the performance of their portfolio on its home screen. Everything comes within the purview of, and hence protected by, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), as Robinhood is a member of the organization.
The app even claims to help its users make informed decisions about the stock market by providing information about the ins and outs of trading and educating would-be traders about potential market risks. While the app doesn’t charge fees for trading, it makes money by allowing what is known in stock market parlance as ‘margin trading’, which is the borrowing of money from a broker to buy stocks. Robinhood does however, inform users that in some cases, SEC & FINRA regulatory fees may be charged. The app is now listed on Google Play and is available for US residents only.