Robinhood’s human resources department is keeping busy this month, announcing this morning that the zero-fee stock trading app and cryptocurrency exchange has tapped CapitalG partner Gretchen Howard (pictured) to lead operations.
The news comes two days after the well-funded startup hired Jason Warnick, a long-time Amazon executive, as its chief financial officer. Warnick, Amazon’s former VP of finance, joins Robinhood amid speculation the fintech “unicorn” is gearing up for an eventual initial public offering.
Howard, who’s joining as a vice president, has been a partner at Alphabet’s growth investing arm since 2014. She joined Google in 2006 as the co-site lead of the Google San Francisco office, as well as a managing director in sales & business operations; before that, she was a vice president at Fidelity Investments.
Earlier this year, Howard helped source CapitalG’s first investment in Robinhood, though another partner, David Lawee, lead the deal. In addition to Robinhood, she’s worked closely with CapitalG portfolio companies Credit Karma, Lyft, Airbnb and Gusto.
Robinhood brought in a $363 million Series D funding round led by DST Global in May. The company raised the capital at a more than $5 billion valuation — a 4x increase from its valuation one year prior. In total, Robinhood has secured $539 million in equity funding from ICONIQ Capital, Thrive Capital, NEA, Sound Ventures and several others since it was founded in 2013.
“I’ve been inspired by the velocity with which Robinhood builds and launches high-quality products and share their passion for democratizing financial services,” Howard said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “While it’s bittersweet to leave Alphabet … I’m excited to remain in the Alphabet family and work closely with the CapitalG team from the portfolio side.”
While it seems to be more common for former operators to transition into venture investing, VCs, too, opt to switch sides of the table from time to time. Howard is a great example of this, as are two former Andreessen Horowitz investors Balaji Srinivasan and Asiff Hirji, who currently serve as Coinbase’s chief technology officer and chief operating officer, respectively. Coinbase is an a16z portfolio company.