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One Bulgarian in the club of IT billionaires

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One Bulgarian in the club of IT billionaires

The Robinhood platform Vlad Tenev co-founded has achieved a market value of $6 billion

For many years now, the hi-tech sector has been dominating the list of world's richest people. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos – they all have their positions on the Top 10. The sector has created 10 new billionaires since the beginning of 2018, Bloomberg says (with the youngest female billionaire only 20 years old and having not a single day of work).

Among the new billionaires is also Vlad Tenev – co-founder with Baiju Bhatt of the platform for charge-free stock exchange trade Robinhood. When the platform managed to attract new investors in May, its market value reached $6 billion. The share of the Bulgarian guy therefore reached 1 billion dollars.

The list also sees the name of Daniel Eck, co-founder and chief executive director of Spotify, which became a publicly-traded company back in April, as well Arash Ferdowsi – one of the founders of the file-sharing service Dropbox.

But who is Vladimir Tenev? The 30-year-old entrepreneur was born in Varna, on the Black Sea. When he was just 4, his family moved to the US. His father is an economist, and both his parents work for the World Bank. Maybe that is the reason they insisted that their son had a career in the financial sector.

Vladimir studied math at the prestigious Stanford University. And it was then that he started his first job – a trainee at a trading company. Until to the time of the downfall of Lehman Brothers, which "opened the floodgates" of the global financial crisis. This event redirected the attention of the young university student.

His then partner Baiju Batt, who later partnered the launch of Robinhood, insisted that they move to New York City and establish a small trading business.

Their first start-up appeared – Chronos Research. The company offered all kind of investment tools to banks and hedge funds to help them build automated systems for trading. This was the first step towards the real success with Robinhood.
"Prior to launching Robinhood we had little experience with developing mobile apps. Therefore, we started with a few experimental applications, while we were waiting for the regulatory approval for Robinhood", Tenev says.

Initially, Vlad and Baiju received support from their customers through crowd funding. 10 000 people registered at the website of the app at the first day of its release. During the first week of its existence the number of registered users grew to 50 000, and after the first year they reached 1 million.

In spite of the starting problems with drawing funding, in the spring of 2015 the young entrepreneurs had already managed to round 3 million dollars from investors, including companies like Index, Google Ventures, Anderssen, and the list was expanded later when the world-famous hip-hop singer Snoop Dog joined.

Two years ago, Tenev entered the list of 30 under 30 by Forbes.

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