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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today is the day everyone can begin buying and selling shares in Robinhood, which goes public on the Nasdaq after raising $1.89 billion in its IPO.

Why it matters: Robinhood is considered a proxy for the rise of retail investing, particularly among younger Americans. But it also has drawn regulatory and political scrutiny for a variety of business practices, and found itself in the crosshairs after users drove up the price of GameStop stock earlier this year.

The bull case: Robinhood has become synonymous with mobile, no-fee trading of stocks, options, and cyptocurrencies. Its business is booming.

  • Revenue soared more than 300% between the first quarter of 2020 and 2021, hitting $522 million. Annual revenue in 2020 was $959 million, up from just $277 million in 2019.
  • Robinhood isn't just taking market share from traditional brokers, many of whom have aped its no-fee model, but it also is growing the market itself. The company claims that over 50% of its users are first-time investors, and that its median customer age is just 31 years-old.
  • It's also is benefitting from increased interest in cryptocurrencies, with Robinhood's crypto under custody growing from $414 million at the end of 2019 to $3.53 billion at the end of 2020.

The bear case: The risk factor section of Robinhood's IPO filing is a whopping 75 pages long.

  • Some of it is pretty standard for a fintech where asset and data security are paramount.
  • But lots of it is very specific to Robinhood, which is the subject of class action lawsuits tied to this past winter's meme stock trading frenzy and regulatory lawsuits over alleged securities law violations.
  • Regulators also are probing employee stock trades and the fact that Robinhood's co-founders aren't registered with FINRA, Wall Street's self-regulator.
  • Robinhood's primary revenue source is from something called payment for order flow, and there's been some political and regulatory movement toward limiting or even abolishing the practice.
  • Then there's the volatile world of crypto, with much of Robinhood's increase tied to the particularly speculative Dogecoin.

IPO details: The company sold 52.37 million shares at $38 each, at the lower end of its proposed price range of $38-$42. It will begin trading later on Thursday under the ticker symbol "HOOD."

  • Robinhood said it would set aside up to 35% of shares for its customers, although we don't yet know the ultimate percentage.

The bottom line: 2021 has been the year of the retail investor. By this time tomorrow, we'll know more about how the market is reacting to that reality.

Editor's note: This post was corrected to reflect that Robinhood is listing on the Nasdaq (not the NYSE).

Go deeper

Money flows to D.C. media companies

Expand chart
Data: Axios research; Table: Axios Visuals

D.C.-based media companies that have enjoyed a robust advocacy and corporate social responsibility ad market in the wake of the pandemic are seeing valuations rise.

Driving the news: Axios on Monday told staffers in an internal note that the company raised a series D funding round from Cox Enterprises, Inc., valuing the company at $430 million. Axios will bring in roughly $85 million in revenue in 2021.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.