Public, a potential Robinhood rival, raises $ 65 million

2020 was a difficult year for many companies, but fantastic for brokers. Companies like Robinhood and Fidelity have benefited from a record number of new retail investors Record values of the trade.

That trade spurt, coupled with the popularity of newer app-based platforms like Robinhood, has created a potential opportunity for Upstarts. These Include Public, a New York-based startup whose investment platform seeks to combine social media and investing.

In practice, this means that users can tell each other which stocks they are buying and, in some cases, see which high profile celebrities or investors are buying. The company has recruited popular culture celebrities, including skateboarder Tony Hawk and Alex Pall from The Chainsmokers, to generate interest in the platform.

Hawk and Pall are also among those who invested in Public’s new Series C funding round of $ 65 million. The round, led by venture firm Accel, brings Public’s total funding to $ 90 million since it launched in 2018.

“Historically, the stock exchange has been an intimidating place reserved for the lucky few. As technology continues to remove barriers, creates a platform that makes investments accessible to all, ”Hawk said in a statement announcing the new round of funding.

Not so publicly

Although Public has star power and a compelling thesis, it is unclear how much traction the company is getting in the market. The company declined to reveal how many accounts it has or how fast it is growing. The public also declined to provide information about their assessment.

in the an interview Earlier this year, venture capitalist Ian Sigalow, who invested on behalf of Greycroft, compared Public to Venmo – a network that was growing exponentially thanks to its social media attributes. These qualities, he says, will also enable the public to avoid spending huge amounts of money on marketing as they can count on the word of the month instead.

Still, the public could face an uphill battle. A recent report from JMP Securities shows that the number of app downloads for Robinhood has more than quadrupled than for other brokers. These competitors include traditional brokers and Webull, another trading app with a social media component.

Despite Robinhood’s apparent dominance, investing in the public suggests that investors feel there is room for progress. Other investors in Public’s Series C round include Lakestar, Greycroft and Advancit Capital.

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