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The Twenty Minute VC featuring Scott Sandell and Rick Yang on Robinhood

by Erica Sunkin

Scott Sandell, Managing General Partner, and Rick Yang, General Partner and Head of Consumer Investing was featured on The Twenty Minute VC for a conversation around our original investment in Robinhood.


In this episode with Scott Sandell and Rick Yang you will learn:

1.) How Rick came to meet Vlad, Robinhood Founder, for the first time? What impressed Rick most in that first meeting? How did the internal discussions proceed at NEA? Was it a unanimous decision to make the investment?

2.) The Market:

  • How did Rick and Scott evaluate the market at the time? Bottoms up, top down?

  • How did the market change and evolve both in ways they did and did not expect?

  • How do Rick and Scott evaluate market timing risk today when investing?

  • How did Rick and Scott approach outcome scenario planning with Robinhood?

3.) The Traction:

  • What core signals and datapoints made Rick realise Robinhood had product-market-fit?

  • How did Rick and NEA analyse Robinhood’s early organic customer acquisition? How did the board advise on how to spend their first marketing dollars?

  • How does the cost structure of the business compare to Charles Swaab and eTrade? Why is Robinhood such a superior model?

4.) The Team:

  • How has Vlad evolved and developed as a leader over time?

  • How did Vlad handle the 36 hours in Feb 2021 when he had to go and raise $3BN+?

  • Who is the unsung hero of the Robinhood team? What have they done to deserve this?

The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be investment advice, or recommendation, or as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any fund or investment vehicle managed by NEA or any other NEA entity. New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, nothing in this post should be interpreted to suggest that the SEC has endorsed or approved the contents of this post. NEA has no obligation to update, modify, or amend the contents of this post nor to notify readers in the event that any information, opinion, forecast or estimate changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate or outdated. In addition, certain information contained herein has been obtained from third-party sources and has not been independently verified by NEA. The companies featured in this post are for illustrative purposes only, have been selected in order to provide an example of the types of investments made by NEA that fit the theme of this post and are not representative of all NEA portfolio companies. The company founders or executives or any other individuals featured or quoted in this post are not compensated, directly or indirectly, by NEA but may be founders or executives of portfolio companies NEA has invested in through funds managed by NEA and its affiliates. Any statements made by founders, investors, portfolio companies, or others in the post or on other third-party websites referencing this post are their own, and are not intended to be an endorsement of the investment advisory services offered by NEA.
NEA makes no assurance that investment results obtained historically can be obtained in the future, or that any investments managed by NEA will be profitable. To the extent the content in this post discusses hypotheticals, projections, or forecasts to illustrate a view, such views may not have been verified or adopted by NEA, nor has NEA tested the validity of the assumptions that underlie such opinions. Readers of the information contained herein should consult their own legal, tax, and financial advisers because the contents are not intended by NEA to be used as part of the investment decision making process related to any investment managed by NEA.

About the authors

Erica Sunkin