Robinhood, the stock-trading app for newbs, is reportedly looking to go public next year. Bloomberg said yesterday that the favorite brokerage of millennials and Gen Z types is seeking advisors for an initial public offering, perhaps as soon as the first quarter of 2021.

Founded in 2013, Robinhood had a valuation of $11.7 billion after raising $460 million in a Series G funding round in September. As of this past May, the site had some 13 million users.

Robinhood app on Apple Watch

The Robinhood app on an Apple Watch. Image source: Robinhood.

Robinhood became an investor favorite because it has a sleek, easy-to-use app; no minimums to begin investing; no fees to buy and sell a stock; and incentives for users to invite more people to the platform by giving them free stock when someone signs up.

It didn't take long for the industry giants to notice the revolution the upstart was fomenting. Last year, brokerages like Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) and TD Ameritrade, which Schwab just acquired for $22 billion, also eliminated their fees.

Robinhood also allows traders to buy cryptocurrencies, buy on margin, and buy fractional shares. So if investors want to purchase Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock, which currently trades at over $3,100 a share, but they only have $100 available, they can buy about three-hundredths of a share, making even the biggest, most popular stocks on the market accessible to everyone.

Yet the path to popularity hasn't been smooth, and Robinhood has been subject to several investor lawsuits. Earlier this year, the fintech suffered three crashes in one week as it was overwhelmed by a surge in traffic from investors seeking to trade the gyrations of the stock market brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of its accounts were also hacked last month and held hostage.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.