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Etsy marks 10 year anniversary with an IPO proposal


10 years after online marketplace Etsy was launched, the company has announced that it has filed for a proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO).

A representative for Etsy declared the news on the company’s blog, informing the public that Goldman, Sachs & Co and Morgan Stanley & Co, LLC are acting as, “joint book-running managers for the proposed offering”.

Though there is no statement as to what the company will be worth, it is hoping to raise $100m, which will most likely leave the value of the company between $1bn and $2bn.

Etsy has a strong following with 1.4m active sellers worldwide, all keen to follow in the footsteps of founder Rob Kalin, whose vision was to create an ‘Etsy Economy’ which, “ empowers artists, designers and curators to start and grow businesses on their own terms”.

95% of Etsy’s sellers sell their goods from home. However, not all feel the move is fitting. One user, Glenn Peterson, complained that the move was doing everything against the company’s primary mission:

“These people don’t have anything to do with art or Rob’s vision. This is just a way for them to cash in. If I were an investor I would be worried that the (Etsy)community is very concerned and angry about the IPO plans”.

Kalin left the company in 2011 and is yet to comment on the proposals. It is unlikely that he will be overly impressed with the move, as he previously mentioned in an interview with, “We do not want Etsy itself to be a big tuna fish. Those tuna are the big companies that all us small businesses are teaming up against.”.

However, this is not the company’s first move away from just targeting creative individuals. Since Kalin’s departure, coincidently after disagreements over the company’s direction, Etsy has been slowly aiming to appeal to a wider demographic. In 2013 the company changed its terms of service, allowing products made from mass manufacturing operations, not just handmade ones, to sell on the site.
Etsy’s results saw a 56% increase in revenue in 2015. However, this still came with a loss of $15.2m, meaning the company will be hoping to take full advantage of potential investments from shareholders in 2015 .

The company plans to reserve a portion of the shares to be sold in the offering through an IPO participation program for individual purchase, with April possibly marking the company’s launch on the stock exchange.

Though the move has caused controversy among sellers, the Brooklyn based company stressed that nothing is set in stone:

“These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective.”. Etsy’s potential on the stock exchange is immense, whether it will fulfil its aims, only time will tell.

Published on Friday 06 March by Rachel Gee

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