Etsy, the Brooklyn-based virtual marketplace that caters to the home craft market, is looking to list on the US Nasdaq exchange in a move that could value it at $2bn (£1.3bn).
What was started as a place for artistic people to sell home made goods has transformed itself over the last few years – and in the process may have alienated many of its original community. It is something of a veteran in the tech world, certainly in terms of how long it has taken to go public. The business is 10 years old, and only began to change its attitude to making money when it appointed Chad Dickerson, a former Yahoo executive, the run the business seven years ago.
Etsy now has more than 1.4 million sellers around the world, offering goods from homemade crafts and artisanal furniture to vintage clothing. Since Mr Dickerson took the helm Etsy has increasingly attract corporate sellers. It makes its money by charging listing fees and taking a commission from every item sold, and is hoping to use the proceeds from the IPO to expand what Mr Dickerson calls “the Etsy economy”.
In the Initial Public Offering paperwork it filed overnight, Etsy said that revenues in 2014 increased to $195.6m, up from $125m in 2013, even though its net loss increased substantially to $15m. It is headquartered in Dumbo, in New York’s Brooklyn district, but also has offices outside the US in London, Berlin, Dublin, Paris, Toronto and Melbourne.
The company says in the filing that it is looking to raise $100m of new capital, but the final amount is expected to be much higher. It will trade under the symbol ETSY on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Despite an IPO being a more conventional route to raising money, Mr Dickerson emphasized his desire to maintain Etsy’s unconventional approach. In a letter included in the IPO filing, he said: “We believe that Etsy has the long-term potential to transform the world economy into one that is more people-centered and community-focused—one that values and honors designers and makers and one that creates stronger connections among people who make, sell and buy goods.”
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