Rich Paul’s makes a play in fintech with Robinhood deal

Robinhood has announced a strategic partnership with Klutch Sport Group, led by LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul.

This collaboration aims to extend Robinhood’s influence into the sports, entertainment, and media sectors, with Paul joining as a strategic advisor to Robinhood. He will work alongside Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev to explore new partnership opportunities within sports and entrepreneurship.

Rich Paul, who established Klutch in 2012 and represents high-profile sports figures like LeBron James, will leverage his extensive network to connect Robinhood with teams, leagues, and athletes for collaborations. This move is part of Robinhood’s broader strategy to diversify its reach beyond its traditional tech and finance roots.

The collaboration has already yielded results, with Robinhood’s brand awareness increasing in the Washington D.C. Metro area following a partnership with the NBA’s Washington Wizards facilitated by Klutch Sports Group. Additionally, during NBA All-Star Weekend, Robinhood engaged in partnerships with NBA and WNBA players represented by Klutch, further amplifying its presence in the sports world.

Vlad Tenev highlighted the alignment between Robinhood’s mission of providing accessible investing and Rich Paul’s entrepreneurial journey from selling vintage jerseys to leading a successful sports agency.

“We’re massive sports fans at Robinhood and we know our customers are as well. Working with Rich and the team at Klutch Sports, it’s really a way to get the Robinhood brand out there to a wider audience and partner with athletes and organizations that are aligned with our customer needs,” Tenev told CNBC.

In addition to its expansion into sports and entertainment, Robinhood has played a role in the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. Tenev pointed out that customers investing in ETFs now have access to crypto exposure.

The no-fee trading app quickly made Bitcoin exchange-traded funds available to customers after US regulators approved them in January. Despite the initial excitement around ETF approvals, interest in Bitcoin remains high, with the cryptocurrency recently hitting its highest value in two years.

The company’s net revenue for the fourth quarter increased by 24% year-over-year to $471 million, surpassing analysts’ expectations of $457 million. CEO Vlad Tenev credited the strong performance to accelerating product velocity, increased trading market share, and global expansion efforts in 2023. He expected an even better start in 2024, noting that the company had already attracted more funded customers and net deposits in the first half of Q1 than in all of Q4 2023.