Baiju Prafulkumar Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev were roommates at Stanford University who moved to New York together after their master’s to pursue careers in the financial industry. While building trading platforms for some of the biggest financial institutions in New York, they realised that electronic trading firms are unfairly charging their customers up to $10 for every trade while it costs next to nothing to execute them. Then, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and wanting to democratise access to financial markets, they moved back to California and came up with an app called Robinhood.
The zero-commission brokerage app allows anyone who resides in the US to dabble in the stock market even if they have very few dollars—from anywhere, anytime with an iPhone app. Promising to shake up the financial industry to its core, Robinhood has backing from some big venture capital firms like Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Bhatt has a BS in Physics and a master’s in Mathematics from the Stanford University. Before Robinhood, Bhatt co-founded Chronos Research, a financial software company that made software used by some of the biggest investment banks in the world.