Robinhood is lining up advisers for a possible 2021 IPO, Bloomberg reports

  • Robinhood is soliciting adviser bids for a public stock listing as soon as 2021, Bloomberg reports. 
  • The company pioneered commission-free stock trading, and is now worth close to $12 billion. 
  • It's also seen explosive growth during the pandemic, triggering outages and angry customers.
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Robinhood may be making the first moves in its long-targeted initial public offering.

The stock-trading startup has asked banks to submit proposals to advise an IPO, Bloomberg news reported Tuesday, citing unnamed sources "with knowledge of the matter."

According to Bloomberg, the listing could happen as soon as the first quarter of 2021, as an end to the Trump administration soothes anxious investors' nerves and helps markets slowly return to record highs. Airbnb and DoorDash notably both filed prospectuses this month.

A Robinhood spokesperson declined to comment on the report. It's also possible plans for an IPO are disrupted.

Preparations to go public aren't new for Robinhood, and CEO Baiju Bhatt said as early as 2018 that the company was looking towards an eventual IPO. More than two years later, the startup is now worth close to $12 billion following its latest funding round in September.

During the pandemic, a new generation of novice traders have flocked to Robinhood's stock, options, and cryptocurrency trading platform. That's led to some tech hiccups and outages.

And such growth hasn't come without speed-bumps. Critics have accused Robinhood of "gamifying" investing to the point that inexperienced clients can cause themselves substantial financial harm. This came to a head in June when a young options trader killed himself after seeing an extremely large negative portfolio value that was not reflective of his actual balance.

The company's also butted heads with federal regulators. In 2019, the company launched checking and savings products, hawking them as fully insured accounts with sky-high interest rates. However, that wasn't completely true, and the company was forced back to the drawing board.

App outages during volatile trading days haven't helped cool customer tempers, either.

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