Vladimir Tenev

Vladimir Tenev, born on February 13, 1987, in Varna, Bulgaria, is a Bulgarian-American entrepreneur known as the co-founder and CEO of Robinhood, a prominent US-based financial technology services company. Tenev’s parents migrated to the United States when he was five years old, both working for the World Bank. He attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Tenev pursued his higher education at Stanford University, where he earned a degree in mathematics and crossed paths with his future business partner, Baiju Bhatt. While initially studying for a mathematics Ph.D. at UCLA, he dropped out to embark on entrepreneurial ventures with Bhatt.

In 2010, Tenev and Bhatt founded a high-frequency trading software company called Celeris, which they later abandoned to establish Chronos Research in January 2011. Chronos Research specialized in selling low-latency software to other trading firms and banks.

Their most notable venture, however, came in 2013 when Tenev and Bhatt co-founded Robinhood, a revolutionary trading platform. Robinhood aimed to democratize finance by offering commission-free trading, challenging the traditional brokerage model. The platform gained significant traction, especially after the launch of its mobile app to the public in 2015.

Tenev’s leadership saw Robinhood grow exponentially, attracting billions in valuation following funding rounds. In November 2020, he became the sole CEO of Robinhood, having previously shared the co-CEO title with Bhatt. The company went public via an initial public offering in July 2021, achieving a valuation of $32 billion.

However, Robinhood faced intense scrutiny during the GameStop short squeeze in January 2021. Tenev defended Robinhood’s decision to restrict trading, citing the need to meet federal clearinghouse deposit requirements. He testified before the United States House Committee on Financial Services, facing criticism from both parties for his handling of the situation.

Tenev’s journey exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in the fintech industry, although it has been marked by challenges and controversies. Despite this, he continues to lead Robinhood in its mission to empower individuals in the world of finance.

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