Robinhood rolling out IPO investing platform

Robinhood Markets Inc on Thursday unveiled a new platform that will give retail investors the opportunity to buy shares in initial public offerings, something

that has long been the exclusive domain of Wall Street funds, Reuters reports.

The popular online brokerage startup, which is preparing to make public its own IPO paperwork in the coming weeks, is rolling out the investing platform in phases for users of its trading app, a step in its quest to “democratize” finance.

Reuters was first to report plans for the new product, alled IPO Access, in March. Sources have also told Reuters that Robinhood will set aside some of its own shares, expected to be floated in a blockbuster debut, for sale on the platform.

“Most IPO shares typically go to institutions or wealthier investors. With IPO Access, everyday investors at Robinhood will have the chance to get in at the IPO price,” Robinhood said in a blog post.

Robinhood will work with Wall Street investment banks to get allocations for retail investors, it said.

Robinhood said the new platform will be available to all customers, without any account limit restrictions. It plans to list a number of upcoming IPOs for customers.

While Robinhood did not identify specific offerings which would be available, FIGS Inc on Thursday became the first company to offer shares to retail investors this way. The maker of medical scrubs, face masks and shields is reserving 1 percent of its IPO offering of 22.5 million shares for Robinhood users.

Several big names, such as grocery delivery app Instacart, Brazilian digital bank Nubank and electric vehicle maker Rivian, are expected to go public later this year.

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