Financial services company Robinhood Markets Inc. has agreed to buy Ziglu Ltd., a crypto and payments startup based in London, putting an end to the U.S. brokerage’s long hiatus from foreign expansion.
The acquisition will provide Robinhood with a platform that will allow consumers to buy and sell 11 cryptocurrencies, as well as move and spend money internationally, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Menlo Park, California-based startup.
Robinhood attempted to launch in the United Kingdom earlier but was unable to do it a few weeks into the endeavor. It is now making its first fintech purchase in the United Kingdom.
As retail trading in the United States exploded following the start of the pandemic, Robinhood put its intentions to expand in Europe and Asia on hold. Now, it has agreed to buy Ziglu Ltd., a crypto and payments startup based in London, putting an end to the U.S. brokerage’s long hiatus from foreign expansion.
Confirming the deal, Mark Hipperson, the CEO of Ziglu said that Ziglu and Robinhood “share” a DNA that aims to lower the barriers to entry for a new generation of investors, and both are excited to work together to achieve that goal.
The acquisition also gives Robinhood a leg up on the crypto market in the United Kingdom, which is governed by strict anti-money laundering legislation.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s register of cryptoasset businesses lists Ziglu as one of 34 companies. More than a hundred businesses have yet to obtain this honor, putting them in regulatory limbo.
According to Vlad Tenev, CEO and Co-Founder of Robinhood Markets, nothing will change for Ziglu clients in the foreseeable future. In the long run, the company will seek to fully integrate Ziglu into Robinhood, bring the Robinhood brand to new markets, and grow operations outside the UK into Europe.
Hipperson, who is one of the founding Starling Bank team members, founded Ziglu in 2017. The company, which collected £7 million in a crowdfunding round last year, claims to have seen a 400% increase in customer numbers in 2021.
There are no details as yet on the structure of the agreement, including whether investors will see a return on their investment from last year’s value.