Today Bloomberg reported, and Axios confirmed that Robinhood has filed privately to go public. The well-financed Robinhood is an American fintech company that provides zero-cost trading services to consumers.
Private IPO filings have become common in recent quarters, making Robinhood’s decision to file behind closed doors before showing its numbers to the public unsurprising. That it has filed privately, however, implies that the company is closer to a public debut than we might have anticipated.
Robinhood has long been expected to have a 2021 IPO in its plans. The company has not yet responded to an inquiry from TC regarding the news of its private IPO filing.
There are several reasons why Robinhood may be interested in a near-term public debut, despite running into controversies in recent quarters. No amount of time in front of Congress, bad PR from a user’s suicide, or settlements with the SEC can change the fact that today’s stock market favors growth, something that the company has in spades. Or that recent IPOs have been rapturously received by public investors as a cohort; it’s a warm time to pursue public-market liquidity.
The company’s revenue expanded greatly in 2020, something that TC has covered through the lens of Robinhood’s payment for order flow, or PFOF income. The company told Congress that the particular revenue source was the majority of its top line, meaning that PFOF growth is a reasonable comp for the company’s aggregate growth. And as TC has reported, those numbers rose sharply in 2020, from around ~$91 million in Q1 2020, to ~$178 million in Q2 2020, and ~$183 million and ~$221 million in the third and fourth quarter of last year.
Robinhood also makes money from consumer subscriptions, and other sources.
The fact that Robinhood has filed privately implies that it will go public sometimes soon, though perhaps not quickly enough to get around providing Q1 2021 numbers. More when we get our hands on the filing.