(Bloomberg) -- This was supposed to the moment that Robinhood Markets Inc.’s users could sit at the IPO table with Wall Street insiders.
Turns out that plenty of the app’s users decided to take a pass.
The online brokerage has not yet released data on how many of its users bought its initial public offering shares. But conversations with customers didn’t reveal a lot of enthusiasm for the offer.
Some cited a lack of faith in Vlad Tenev, Robinhood’s chief executive officer, who was blamed for the app’s January trading halt on meme-stocks that angered customers. Other users were more interested in the recent gains in cryptocurrencies, which they can trade on Robinhood, than in the IPO. And there were those who wanted to watch and wait to see how the offering fared before deciding what to do. The stock’s dreary performance on its first day of trading -- down as much as 12% at one point -- didn’t help make a first-day buy case.
Atlanta resident Matthew Rodgers uses Robinhood at least once a day and likes the easy trading interface. But the 23-year-old isn’t investing in the app’s parent company.
“I’m not looking to buy any more stocks right now; I’m fine with how my portfolio is currently,” Rodgers said. He considers himself a “regular investor” who is “not looking for anything crazy,” and usually sticks to tech stocks.
CEO as Deciding Factor
Jonah Kaplan, a 28-year-old from Denver, didn’t want to buy any IPO shares because he thinks the company made the wrong decisions during the volatile meme-stock trading period at the beginning of the year.
“I’m not a huge fan of the CEO,” he said, adding that leadership is a key component for him in choosing which stocks to invest in. “That’s why I don’t invest in Amazon, either,” he said.
Kevin Oakley, a student at University of Miami, said he’s not buying Robinhood shares because he’s “focusing on crypto for now.” Oakley did say that he uses Robinhood as his bank account, and sees it as a great way for young people to gain wealth.
Other retail investors apparently didn’t share the same lack of interest in the IPO: Robinhood ranked as the top trade on Fidelity’s platform on Thursday.
And there were Robinhood users who decided to buy in. Jorge Miranda, 32 and currently living in New York, started using the app in January and has since seen his investments nearly double. He put in an order to buy 20 Robinhood shares in the IPO, though he worried about what it could do to his portfolio.
“I’m maybe not treating it as much as a risk as I did initially after seeing those gains,” Miranda said, though he’s willing to “test it out.”
Sasha Kalika, also living in New York, has been using Robinhood for about a year. The 21-year-old has not yet looked into buying Robinhood shares but said “it sounds interesting” and might invest in the future. She goes on the app about once a week, and usually gets investing advice from her favorite YouTube investors.
Xi Li is of a similar mindset when it comes to buying Robinhood shares: “For now my attitude is more like a wait and see.” While the 34-year-old New Yorker uses the app every day, she also has reservations about how it handled the meme-stock craze. She’s even wondering whether she should switch to another trading platform.
“I feel like there are so many mixed messages when you read all the articles,” Li said.
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