Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev On Stock Market Turmoil And Eliminating Trading Fees

This might not seem like the best time to be running a startup focused on stock market trading, but Vlad Tenev, co-founder of Robinhood, still sees plenty of opportunities.

“There’s always companies and products that are doing well, and there’s always companies and products that aren’t doing so well,” he said. “In addition to that, short-term fluctuations aside, if you’re taking a long-term view on things, like a 10-year view, the stock market has been a great asset class.”

I interviewed Tenev at Disrupt SF about Robinhood’s international growth (fueled by a recent $50 million funding round) and its business model. To justify its zero trading fee approach, Tenev said the team asked itself: “Can we operate much more efficiently than a traditional financial company in that category? And can we be significantly bigger?”

Clearly, Robinhood is betting the answer is yes on both counts. As for the broader investment landscape, Tenev added the company has another big advantage: “A large portion of our customers are first-time investors [with] the benefit of having that long time horizon.”