Investors dump Robinhood in stock market debut

It was a less than auspicious market debut for the controversial trading app Robinhood.

In a rarity, the stock opened at its IPO price of $38 Thursday and then quickly headed south...dropping as much as 10 percent before cutting that decline roughly in half.

There are concerns about the company's business model and the $32 billion market value it received during one of the most highly-anticipated IPOs of the year.

Kathleen Smith of Renaissance Capital says that valuation doesn't necessarily stack up when you compare new-kid-on-the-block Robinhood to the venerable investing firm Charles Schwab.

"The company certainly does have value. The question is how it's valued relative to the existing circumstances. Schwab is trading at 5X trailing sales, and this offering is being put out at the $38 at 21X trailing sales. So, it's quite a premium to established brokers."

Revenue at Robinhood jumped fourfold in the March quarter thanks to the trading mania in so-called meme stocks.

Speaking at the IPO ceremony at the Nasdaq, Robinhood Markets CEO Vladimir Tenev was proud of what the company has accomplished.

"We didn't build Robinhood for the rich or those with decades of experience. We built it for everyone. We're humbled to be serving over 22 million people. And yet there's so much more to do."

But its popularity also came at a cost.

It's at the center of several regulatory probes.

And it's still facing negative backlash from a decision earlier this year to restrict trading in a few popular stocks, which enraged U.S. lawmakers and app users.

One way Robinhood sought to curry favor with its core audience was to set aside 20 to 35 percent of shares available in the IPO for actual users of the trading app.

That, however, didn't help out the stock's debut, which was down more than 8 percent by the closing bell.

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