Hardly any newcomer to the stock exchange has been expected with so much excitement this year as Robinhood.

On Thursday the time had come: The American online broker made its debut on the Nasdaq.

At least he did not meet the highest expectations.

The issue price of 38 dollars per share was at the lower end of the previously targeted price range, which went up to 42 dollars.

According to media reports, there was reluctance on the part of investors, and the company also wanted to set the issue price conservatively.

Roland Lindner

Business correspondent in New York.

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Even at the $ 38 price tag, Robinhood took in $ 2.1 billion and had a market capitalization of $ 32 billion.

For comparison: Deutsche Bank is currently worth 22 billion euros on the stock exchange.

In its most recent over-the-counter funding round in 2020, Robinhood was valued at just under $ 12 billion.

Robinhood is at the forefront of a new generation of financial companies that set out to revolutionize stock trading.

The company was founded in 2013 by the native Bulgarian Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, a former fellow student at Stanford University in California.

The two stated the goal of "democratizing finances" by allowing their users to trade stocks without charging transaction fees from them.

They positioned themselves as friends of small investors, which should also reflect the name of the company, the folk hero who stole from the rich to help the poor.

Robinhood and its controversies

Robinhood put the industry under pressure, and established financial service providers were soon forced to offer free stock transactions. Robinhood has grown rapidly over the past few years, expanding both its user numbers and its sales. With its promise of no-fee trading and its easy-to-use smartphone app, it has also got a lot of people excited about the stock markets who have not previously traded any securities. A few months ago, the online broker was at the center of a hustle and bustle around companies like the video game chain Gamestop, which saw a rush of investors.

Their prices were boosted by private investors on Robinhood and other platforms, causing some professional investors such as hedge funds who had bet on falling stocks to lose a lot of money. Robinhood was forced to restrict trading in Gamestop shares and drew the anger of many users. Tenev was even summoned to a hearing before the American Congress.

Even beyond the gamestop turbulence, Robinhood regularly finds itself in controversy. The company has been accused of tricking its users into making overly risky bets. The American state of Massachusetts recently filed a lawsuit. A few weeks ago, the US financial regulator FINRA fined $ 70 million, among other things on charges that Robinhood had given customers misleading information.

The company's business model is also controversial. Because it doesn't charge user fees, it makes its money in other ways, most notably through payments from partners in the financial industry who process its transactions. The Securities and Exchange Commission has recently been very critical of this model, and Robinhood has identified any regulatory interventions as a risk to its business.