Vladimir Tenev is an American entrepreneur who is best known for his joint efforts with Baiju Bhatt, his partner in the US-based financial services company Robinhood. He made his fortune with the company that he and Bhatt founded together and he has become somewhat of a legend in entrepreneurial circles. He is an interesting character who serves as a solid role model for young entrepreneurs who have the dream of building their own companies. There is a lot that we can learn from him, so we looked into his history and how he came to be so successful in his business endeavors, to gain a bit of insight into his formula for success. We made some interesting discoveries that are worth sharing. Here are 20 things you probably didn't know about Vladimir Tenev.
1. He was born in Bulgaria
Vladimir Tenev was born in Bulgaria in 1986 or 1987. Sources could not confirm which year he was born, so he is currently 32 or 33 years of age. He lived in Bulgaria with his parents until he was five years old. The family migrated to the United States to work at the World Bank. They were both employed at the institution.
2. He grew up in Washington DC
Tenev's parents moved to Washington DC and this is where Vladimir was raised. He went to school at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. He didn't attend regular public schools in the area as his parents were able to place him in a private school.
3. He was accepted to Stanford University
Tenev attended the prestigious Stanford University where he studied mathematics. He earned his undergraduate degree from the institution and then decided to continue with his education and pursue a higher academic degree. Tenev attended UCLA at the school's Ph.D. program in mathematics, but he did not complete his doctoral studies program. It was during his time there that he met Baiju Bhatt, and he dropped out of the program to pursue a business endeavor with Bhatt.
4. He did an about-face when he met Bhatt
Vlad Tenev was raised by two parents who instilled the value of working for a large institution. Entrepreneurship wasn't something that he had considered as h pursued his education in mathematics. He hadn't previously given much thought to striking out on his own and establishing a company, that is until he met Baiju Bhatt. He was working on his Ph.D. at the time, but his world view began to open up and expand as he became buddies with Bhatt. The two started building high-tech trading software for banks and hedge funds. They both saw the potential for their programs to undercut retail brokers who charge sometimes high fees for making trades for investors. This is where the two developed the idea for Robinhood.
5. Tenev took a chance that paid off
Together, Tenev and Bhatt co-founded Robinhood. Initially, their clients were banks and hedge fund managers, but they wondered how well their new company would do if they offered commission-free stock trading in the form of an app. This is the remise that Robin Hood is based upon. It is an app that can be used on your smartphone or from any device that can connect to the internet with online access. The platform is offered completely free of charge and soon after launching it as a retail product and service that is direct to the customer, the trades soon exceeded $2 billion.
6. His revenue plan is brilliant
When Tenev and his partner launched the Robinhood app, it was designed with investors in mind and it is offered free of charge. They set up a system that would allow them to make money off of the interest from the cash in their customers' accounts. While this was a bit of a risk, it has paid off very handsomely for the two. Tenev and Bhatt have become billionaires through their company. They combined financial services with information technology that has been a huge success and he became a very rich man before he was even 30 years old.
7. Robinhood was launched in 2014
Robinhood became Silicon Valley's solution to a growing audience of investors who are unhappy with large financial institutions. High trading fees for stock activities left many disillusioned and unwilling to participate in the activities. Robinhood has been in operation for just 5 years but it caught on in a big way and it's not difficult to understand why. It couldn't have been introduced at a more perfect time. When other brokerage firms are advertising discounted services, Robinhood charges absolutely nothing so it's a no-brainer.
8. Tenev's company appeals to millennials
The majority of traders who use the Robinhood app are in their middle 20s. As much as 78% of users are in an age range that is under 35. Young people are becoming savvy to the notion of building their savings and starting investment portfolios with the freedom to make trades without racking up tons of fees and service charges for the activities. It's as much about developing and building relationships with brands and investing in them, making the relationship more personal.
9. Tenev and Bhatt are best friends
Vlad met Baiju at Stanford University when he was working on his degree in Mathematics. They hit it off because the two had so much in common. They became best friends and their friendship led to a partnership in business that worked out just as well. Together, they created a company that has solved some major issues for young investors and they have made significant contributions as a team to the improvement of the stock trading arena.
10. Tenev was honest about the launch of the new app
Before becoming very rich and successful from the Robinhood app, Tenev and his partner had to go live to test the app to find out if it worked as they had hoped it would. It's not something that most entrepreneurs would share publicly, but Tenev is an open and honest person who has always strived for transparency. He shared that the app was more of a social network for investors and it relied heavily on social media for tips on trading. He shared that he hoped that everyone would be able to "make some dough too." It didn't appear that getting rich was on his mind before the launch, it was more of testing the app to see if it would perform, and to work out any kinks that they found in the system. When it all went well, Tenev and Bhatt were pleased with the response.
11. Tenev is critical of some similar networks
Tenev was one of the first to speak out and warn against fraud in social networking. When it comes to investment, it pays to be wary and to be careful. When it comes to the Robinhood app and network, people who offer information have a score-card that becomes a part of their identity and the predictions that are made are recorded and whether the degree of accuracy is also recorded. Robinhood is a program that maintains the highest level of transparency and it has been designed to address the problem of fraud in social network investing and they make every attempt to ensure that this kind of nefarious activity does not occur within the network.
12. Vlad is an inspirational speaker
Mr. Tenev has been fortunate and successful in his entrepreneurial endeavors. Although he didn't set out to become an entrepreneur it's something that seemed to naturally evolve through conversations with a friend and wondering "what if." He takes the time to share his experiences and the knowledge that he has gained with others who are hopeful of building their businesses.
13. He was a keynote speaker
Vladimir Tenev was invited to return to UCLA where he dropped out of his doctoral program in mathematics. He had already completed his education in mathematics and the next step was a Ph.D., but he left his studies for a very good reason. He's not your typical dropout. In his case, discontinuing his studies when he did was the best choice that he could have made. Tenev was at a point in the development of a brilliant idea for a new business that would revolutionize the investment and trading industry, and it would encourage millennials to come on board. He was the keynote speaker for the mathematics commencement at UCLA in June of 2019 where he encouraged more than 400 recent graduates, their friends, and families.
14. Vlad is a positive role model
In his commencement speech, Vlad gave an inspirational delivery for students to follow their passion. This is something that ultimately led to his success and he knows what he is talking about. He encouraged those present to do what they felt in their hearts was the right thing for them as individuals. He also spoke about the fact that there are times in our lives when we must deter from an established and familiar path when our instincts tell us that there is something better for us if we take an alternate route.
15. Tenev is an integral part of the Robinhood operations
Vlad didn't kick back after the company became a huge success. He is still actively making contributions to the operation as co-CEO with his best friend and founding partner Baiju Bhatt. Tenev is responsible for the oversight of the engineering and business development teams of Robinhood so he is an extremely busy man, but he loves what he does and it's obvious that he is very good at it.
16. Vlad founded two financed companies before Robinhood
Before Tenev and Bhatt even started talking about developing the Robinhood app, Vla was already an entrepreneur. He had started two finance companies while earning his B.S. in Mathematics. He also holds an M.S. in Mathematics from UCLA. He was a successful entrepreneur before becoming a billionaire through Robinhood and he accomplished all of this while still in his twenties. The finance companies that he started were in the New York City area. We see the influence of his parents' careers in the World Bank institution's as an influence on his interest in finance.
17. He has been widely recognized for his accomplishments
Vlad Tenev is one of the youngest billionaires in the United States. He is a self-made man who is included in several prestigious who's who lists. He received official recognition on the Forbes 30 under 30 lists as well as the Fortune 40 under 40 lists and Inc.'s 30 under 30 list.He truly is one of the most accomplished entrepreneurs in his age group.
18. Vlad is highly skilled and endorsed by others
Tenev has a long list of skills which are endorsed by multiple professional and experts in related fields. He is endorsed by 19 professionals fro his knowledge of machine learning, by 17 for his knowledge and experience with algorithms, and 9 endorsements for his skill in using Python9.
19. He has an impressive resume
Education aside, the work that Vlad has done as an entrepreneur is simply astounding. He founded Chronos Research in January of 2011 and he is still a managing partner at the present. According to Bloomberg.com, he is a partner in strategy at Amplo Management LLC at the present, he co-founded Robinhood Markets Inc, and is co-CEO and also co-founded Robinhood Financial LLC and works as the co-CEO.
20. Vladimir Tenev is one to keep your eye on
Already a billionaire before the age of 30, Vlad Tenev is just getting started with his life. His accomplishments are so significant that it's almost mind-boggling. He has a bright future ahead of him and a brilliant mind that we're confident will deliver yet more revolutionary ideas to the world around him. He's one young entrepreneur to keep your eye on in the years to come.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee