Robinhood, the stock trading app that’s out to “democratize finance,” rides the line between a financial firm and a tech startup. Gretchen Howard, Robinhood’s Chief Operating Officer, says the company’s hierarchy looks like a mix of the two.
According to Howard, finance and tech embody two different organizational structures, but they’re not mutually exclusive. “In technology, people move faster and there’s less hierarchy,” Howard told LinkedIn News Editor Devin Banerjee in a 2019 interview. “Our opportunity is to bring together these two very different worlds by cultivating the best of both cultures and forming our own.”
Most financial companies are established institutions with clear hierarchical structures and government regulations keeping them in check. Startups, on the other hand, rely on the fast-paced collaboration of a handful of people, often resulting in a flat structure. And, like many successful startups, Robinhood grew too quickly to get bogged down in hierarchies. Today, it’s making more money than ever. Its trading platform now has 30% more accounts since January, and is expecting a 250% rise in revenue by the end of the year, according to Forbes.
“It’s hard to move the ship that is a traditional financial services business built on top of old technology,” Howard said. “We are lucky enough to be building in the cloud from the start and having a mobile-first appetite.”
Here’s a look at Robinhood’s organizational chart of senior leaders.
Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev
While the co-CEO model is risky to say the least, Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev have an advantage: they’re friends. The former Stanford roommates started Robinhood in 2012 when they realized there wasn’t a no-fee trading platform for mobile users.
Despite Robinhood’s many ups and downs this year, including app outages and the suicide of Alexander Kearns, a 20-year-old Robinhood user, the app is faring better than ever. Bhatt and Tenev have reached billionaire status due to the enormous uptick in user accounts and revenue, and Robinhood’s estimated valuation is up to a staggering $11.2 billion.
The co-founders still haven’t announced an IPO, though they’ve spoken about going public for the past two years. The buzz hasn’t abated. In theory, users could trade shares of Robinhood on its own app at some point in the future.
Chief Operating Officer Gretchen Howard
Howard joined Robinhood as vice president of operations for six months until she was promoted to COO in June 2019. She now oversees recruiting, HR, communications, brokerage operations, and product operations as well as expanding Robinhood’s financial services options.
Chief Financial Officer Jason Warnick
Warnick has been with the company since November 2018 as CFO, but spent 20 years at Amazon before that. He served as VP of finance and chief of staff to Amazon’s CFO, overseeing the internal audit, investor relations, risk management, benchmarking, and compliance teams.
Chief Legal Officer Dan Gallagher
In October 2019, Gallagher joined Robinhood’s board of directors, and last May, he was brought on as chief legal officer. Before Robinhood, Gallagher was a partner and deputy chair of the securities department at international law firm WilmerHale. He also served as an SEC commissioner from 2011 to 2015.
Robinhood added two new additions to the legal team this month, Christina Lai and Lucas Moskowitz. Lai oversees the legal department’s privacy, commercial, and product teams. Moskowitz oversees Robinhood’s dealings with Washington, specifically regulatory, litigation, and government affairs.