Robinhood hires Amazon veteran as CFO — a key step in its path to IPO

Robinhood just got one step closer to an initial public offering.

The stock-trading platform hired Amazon veteran Jason Warnick as its first-ever chief financial officer, Robinhood announced in a blog post. The company had been looking to fill the role as part of its long-term strategy to go public, Robinhood co-CEO Baiju Bhatt said in September.

Being a public company “closely aligns” with Robinhood’s mission and is something its executives think “is very much in the future,” Bhatt said on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. He said an IPO would not be in the immediate future but it’s “something we’re thinking about.”

Warnick joined Amazon in 1999 and was most recently serving as vice president of finance and chief of staff to the e-commerce giant’s CFO Brian Olsavsky.

“I’m thrilled to join the amazing team at Robinhood and look forward to advancing our mission to democratize America’s financial system,” Warnick, who starts at Robinhood next week, said in a blog post.

Menlo Park, California-based Robinhood is known for its zero-fee trading platform that rolled out about three years ago. It’s mostly used by millennials age 18 to 35, and also offers ETFs, options and, as of February, cryptocurrency trading. In October, it launchedan independent clearing system that allows Robinhood to independently clear and settle transactions and provide custody for assets.

Its brokerage account growth has skyrocketed this year: Total accounts jumped to 6 million in October, up from 5 million in August and 4 million in May, according to the company.

Investors in its latest $363 million fundraising round included Google’s venture capital fund Capital G, Sequoia, DST Global and Iconiq, boosting its valuation to $5.6 billion.

Banking giants like J. P. Morgan are also moving into the no-fee territory. But Robinhood executives say they’re looking to expand into the territory of some of those legacy firms.

“We have an ambitious long-term vision to become a full-service financial services company over the next couple of years,” Robinhood Co-CEO Vlad Tenev told CNBC in August.

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