Robinhood takes down UK site, delays international launch
Online trading startup Robinhood has sent a somewhat surprising message to the UK based customers (really, potential customers) who had signed up to a waiting list on Robinhood’s UK site. The message (see full text below) indicates that Robinhood is putting off altogether its UK and international launch, and will be focusing solely on its home US market for the foreseeable future.
The “postponement” Robinood refers to in the message doesn’t seem like just a temporary blip. Robinhood stated that it will be taking down its UK website, and closing the UK waitlist which it had opened up late last year.
The announcement is surprising given that Robinhood was until now very gung-ho on its potential UK and international expansion. It seemed to also need the international piece to justify its valuation, which hit $8.6 billion in the company’s latest round of financing, held just a week ago. The amount of money raised by Robinhood in the latest round, $320 million, also gave the feeling that there was more than enough resources to build at home and grow abroad.
What we believe is at play here are the problems Robinhood has had, despite the company’s success in attracting a large number of new traders. Robinhood has had frequent downtime in its back office, causing trading issues for its clients. The company is also grappling with how to deal with the large number of novice traders on the platform, whom as a group have shown the ability to move markets in some of the largest cap stocks out there.
It looks like Robinhood wants to focus on “getting it right” in the US before looking to truly expand abroad. Which, under the circumstances and given the company’s continued growth in just the US at this stage, does seem like the prudent approach.
The full text of the Robinhood notice sent out to its UK waitlist clients follows:
An update on Robinhood UK
We’re saddened to share that we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our UK launch indefinitely. We’ll be closing our waitlist and taking down our UK website shortly.
The world has changed a lot over the past several months and we’re adapting with it. On a company level, we’ve come to recognise that our efforts are currently best spent on strengthening our core business in the US and making further investments in our foundational systems.
Since we announced our intent to launch in the UK, we’ve been fueled by your excitement for Robinhood and humbled by your response. We’re sorry that we cannot deliver the product we promised you this year.
Although our global expansion plans are on hold for now, we will continue our work to democratise finance for all and we look forward to the day when we can bring this mission to the UK.
The Robinhood UK Team