Robinhood raises another $320 million, valuation rises to $8.6 billion

(Reuters) – Robinhood Markets Inc, the fintech startup credited with helping popularize trading among millennials, said on Monday it has raised another $320 million in latest funding from new and existing investors at a valuation of $8.6 billion.

The new round includes investors such as TSG Consumer Partners and IVP, and brings the seven-year-old online brokerage’s total fundraise to $600 million in a span of two months.

The funding round is widely being seen as a precursor to an initial public offering (IPO), according to analysts tracking the company, which has benefited from a surge in day trading, driven by consumers stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some traders and analysts have attributed rallies of between 300% and 500% in stocks of bankrupt or soon-to-be-bankrupt companies such as Hertz, Chesapeake, Whiting and JC Penney to retail investors using Robinhood, which has more than 10 million users.

The company, however, has been criticized for not doing enough to moderate excesses that even led to a suicide.

Last month, Robinhood said it may make it harder to qualify to do sophisticated options trading on its platform and would improve its user interface.

The Menlo Park, California-based startup has also experienced several outages since early March, particularly on days of high trading volumes.

(Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)