Robinhood hires Google veteran to lead product ahead of IPO

Robinhood hires Aparna Chennapragada as its first chief product officer

Robinhood has hired a top Google executive as its first chief product officer ahead of its upcoming public debut.

The retail start-up announced on Wednesday that it would win Aparna Chennapragada, who spent 12 years at Google as a leading product, engineering and design team. Most recently, she was vice president of consumer shopping, leading product efforts for Google Search and YouTube.

Chennapragada, who is also on the board of directors of Capital One, said she spent her career at Google “creating products that will help billions of people in their daily lives,” and at Robinhood, she plans to “help more people build theirs.” financial future and personal prosperity. “”

“Robinhood has developed a uniquely accessible product that has opened financial markets to millions of people,” Chennapragada said in a statement on Wednesday.

Robinhood has been criticized for making the markets too accessible and “gamifying” the stock markets in some cases. CEO Vlad Tenev testified before Congress in February, addressing the GameStop frenzy and Robinhood’s decision to close the buy side of certain trades.

Despite the GameStop controversy, user growth, brand awareness, and rating from Robinhood seem to have gotten a boost. Demand for Robinhood shares in private markets soared in February, and Robinhood gained 3 million users in January alone, according to JMP Securities estimates.

The company has been hiring more staff over the past few months to keep up with customer service demand and complaints. On Monday, Robinhood announced it would buy the recruiting company Binc to double the size of its recruiting team.

Robinhood has been known for its eight year history for attracting executives from Wall Street and Silicon Valley. She hired former SEC Commissioner Dan Gallagher to lead the legal team last year, and its first marketing director, Christina Smedley, came from Facebook. Jason Warnick, CFO of Robinhood, joined Amazon after two decades and its chief operating officer, Gretchen Howard, is also a former Google executive.

The start-up is best known for lowering the barrier to entry for a flood of new retail investors and unleashing a wave of brokerage firms cutting commissions to zero. The start-up has attracted investment from Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, and Google’s Venture Capital Arm, GV. It was last valued at $ 11.7 billion, but is expected to score up to four times the valuation when it goes public, according to its early investors.

The US brokerage firm is expected to go public in the coming months, choosing the Nasdaq as an exchange for its eventual debut, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. The company has not formally applied for listing.

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