Signals | May 8, 2015

Here Comes Crowdtrading: Robin Hood Raises $50 million

The team at


Photo Credit: Nestor Lacle

Move over crowdfunding. Robin Hood is taking its zero-fee stock trading platform global with $50 million in follow-on funding.

Robin Hood is opening the stock market floodgates to the “crowd,” and particularly to the Millennial generation that has little patience for $7.99 fees and $500 minimums. US Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth reported that “two-thirds of (high-net-worth) millennials already employ social impact strategies.”

I downloaded Robin Hood App two weeks ago so that I could purchase a few shares in Etsy without having to pay a commission to E*trade and Schwab. My Etsy stock hasn’t done that well since I purchased it on Robin Hood a few weeks ago but I’ll stay in it because I like what the company represents – one of the first B-Corps to go public and one that focuses on enabling income for local makers.

How big an impact might such investments make? The “additionality” of public-equity investments is a matter of hit debate in the impact investing world. But it could still mean a sizeable shift of capital. Consider that crowdfunding, early-stage investments in private companies, grew to $16.1 billion last year and is forecast to more than double to $34.4 billion in 2015. Friction-free public markets investing will let even more people vote with their dollars for the companies they want to succeed.