Robinhood (HOOD) CEO Vlad Tenev announced Tuesday afternoon that the online trading platform will lay off 9% of its workforce as shares of the company’s stock hit a new low. In a blogpost, Tenev wrote that Robinhood’s financial position was strong, with over $6 billion in cash on its balance sheet. The layoffs, he said, follow a period of extreme headcount growth that “led to some duplicate roles and job functions, and more layers and complexity than are optimal.”Robinhood has increased its staff from 700 to 3,800 employees since the beginning of 2020.
“After carefully considering all these factors, we determined that making these reductions to Robinhood’s staff is the right decision to improve efficiency, increase our velocity, and ensure that we are responsive to the changing needs of our customers,” said Tenev.
Going forward, the company will “continue to prioritize internal opportunities for automation and operational efficiency,” Tenev wrote.Shares of the stock closed at $10 on Tuesday, the lowest price since the company went public last July.
Robinhood IPO’d at $38 per share and quickly soared to $85 but has since plummeted. Shares are down 46% so far in 2022, while the S&P 500 has fallen 13%.
The company played a key role in the early 2021 surge in meme stocks like (GME) that retail investors, armed with stimulus checks and increased unemployment payments, poured into. But the surge was short lived, and Robinhood reported a loss in monthly active users last quarter. Early in April, Goldman Sachs downgraded the company to a sell from neutral, citing headwinds as investors disengage due to falling markets and waning Covid stimulus checks. “We believe HOOD could continue to see higher levels of churn as these investors leverage their smaller dollar account sizes for everyday spending,” Goldman analysts wrote.Robinhood tends to appeal to new investors, with average account sizes around $4,000. The average age of its users is 31, and about 50% of those are first-time investors, the company has said, making it more susceptible to user drop-off during economic slowdowns. Goldman doesn’t see a clear path toward profitability for Robinhood, a bad sign as investors become increasingly skeptical of unprofitable fintech companies.
Robinhood is scheduled to release its first-quarter results after the bell Thursday, but Tuesday’s blog post made no mention of them. For its last quarter, the company posted a $423 million net loss. Shares of the stock were down 5.5% in after-hours trading.