Friday, May 14, 2021

Elon Musk Interviews Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev in Clubhouse Chat

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Hello. It’s a cold start to February here in New York City, where extreme nor’easter is expected to dump a foot of snow on the city as temperatures hover into the upper 20s.

Likewise, the maelstrom around Robinhood and the so-called memories (ahem, GameStop) continued to swirl over the weekend.

The stock trading app has sparked criticism and (unproven) accusations of colluding with institutional investors for suspending the purchase of shares of companies, including GameStop and AMC last week. And in what looked like a strange collision of a multiverse, You’re here CEO Elon Musk spoke with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev on Flag Sunday late on Robinhood’s decision.

It started as a Good time show Musk’s interview himself, though Tenev’s entry quickly turned Musk into an interviewer. “Did something fishy go down here?” asked the CEO of Tesla at one point.

Tenev denied any obscurity and, when asked why Robinhood had suspended purchases, blamed his clearinghouse, the National Securities Clearing Corp., for increasing its necessary collateral to around $ 3 billion due to greater volatility and concentration in certain stocks. That number was then traded down, Tenev said, to around $ 1.4 billion.

Musk also asked about Robinhood’s relationship with the market maker Citadel Securities. In a precursor to what will likely be his response to Washington’s scrutiny of the connection, Tenev replied, “There was a rumor that Citadel and other market makers pressured us. And it’s just wrong.

It was difficult to find accuracy in the weather forecast: National and local news sites suggested between four inches and nearly twenty-two feet of snow. It’s also hard to guess how the strong winds in public opinion and Congress will impact Robinhood in the long run.

But for now, in the many stages of this GameStop saga, Clubhouse and its big investor – Andreessen Horowitz – are certainly feel the wind in their sails. Musk’s interview and subsequent conversation with Tenev drew a crowd (whatever if it was, to some extent, expected): 5,000 listeners and over 121,000 views on this livestream.

A16z has run Clubhouse Series A and B and is trying to build his own media empire. The most recent Clubhouse conversation shows a glimpse of not only the potential of the app, but also the venture capital firm’s strategy to develop it.
THE FOLLOWING FORTUNE LEADERSHIP: theThe Leadership Next podcast kicks off a new season with important discussions about black Americans and their work. Last week’s show starred David Craig, the CEO of data firm Refinitiv. Refinitiv is a partner of a new Fortune initiative, Measure Up, which pushes companies to track, report and disclose the diversity numbers of their employees. While many companies proclaim the importance of diversity and inclusion in business, very few report on their progress towards achieving DCI’s goals. Listen to the podcast Here and join the effort Here.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
E-mail: lucinda.shen@fortune.com



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