The story of Robinhood begins almost a decade ago at Stanford University, where co-founders Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt were roommates & classmates. After spending long nights toiling on problem sets together, the two decided to pack their bags and head to Wall Street to build a company that made high-frequency trading platforms for some of the world’s largest financial institutions.
They soon learned that high frequency traders and electronic trading firms pay effectively nothing to place trades on the market. On the other hand, everyday investors were taxed up to $10 per trade. Baiju and Vladimir realized it was time to bring this advantage to everyone. By automating many of the costly duties that existing brokerages maintain as a holdover from the pre-Internet era, they could build a much more cost efficient and enjoyable brokerage. This was an opportunity and challenge they were very excited about.