Trading app Robinhood agrees deal with Pluto Capital to tap into AI

(Reuters) – Robinhood Markets said on Monday it had bought artificial intelligence-powered investment platform Pluto Capital, adding the trading app to a growing list of companies looking to offer AI tools to customers.

Top technology companies are racing to build AI into their products and services. Generative AI, which aims to create human-like interactions by processing vast amounts of data, has taken the world by storm, with analysts expecting it to lead transformation across industries.

The Menlo Park, California-based company said the deal will give investors on its platform access to enhanced data analysis, personalized investment strategies as well as real-time insights and portfolio optimization.

Robinhood’s platform has seen a resurgence in trading activity after a prolonged slump as higher interest rates and heavy market volatility turned investors risk averse.

The company’s popularity and appeal is immortalized in the retail trading saga of 2021, when it became the platform of choice for retail investors who used it to pump money into so-called “meme stocks” during the pandemic-era lockdowns.

It has since sought to become a full-fledged financial services provider and has been chasing growth through deals and product launches that go beyond its traditional transaction-related revenues.

Last month, it agreed to buy crypto exchange Bitstamp for about $200 million in cash, in what was its biggest-ever deal.

Robinhood said Jacob Sansbury, Pluto’s founder and chief executive officer, will join the company, tasked with expanding and accelerating its AI-focused offerings.

Its shares were last down 0.6% in choppy trading. The company did not disclose the terms of the deal.

(Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)