Etsy crafts big gains with its IPO, raising $267 million

April 16, 2015 01:05 PM

(Bloomberg)—Etsy Inc., the website founded a decade ago by a carpenter looking to sell wooden computers, nearly doubled in its trading debut after raising $267 million in an initial public offering.

A marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, Etsy opened up 93% at $31 at 10:49 a.m. in New York. The Brooklyn-based company and some of its backers sold 16.7 million shares for $16 apiece.

Etsy’s offerings include a knit coffee warmer for $6.50 and a 1960 metal typewriter for $85. Etsy, No. 24 in the just-released Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, makes revenue by charging sellers listing fees and commissions. Etsy had been ranked No. 130 in the 2014 Top 500 Guide. As a public company Etsy’s challenge will be to keep the artisans and craftmakers who sell their products on the site happy, as it also seeks to build scale for investors.

The IPO is a first for a B Corporation, a distinction given to businesses that meet exacting standards with regard to social and environmental performance. Proceeds will be used to invest in the business, except for $300,000 which will fund, a nonprofit for educating women and minorities on how to create their own businesses.

Manufacturing growth

Etsy plans to invest in marketing and logistics to expand globally, as well as enhance seller services. The company also wants to develop its manufacturing program—started in October 2013 to allow sellers to outsource production and fulfillment. The policy helped some sellers become six-figure successes, while others, purely focused on handmade items, saw their sales decline amid competition from less expensive products.

Sales amounted to $195.6 million last year, a 56% jump from 2013. As the end of 2014, Etsy had 1.4 million active sellers and almost 20 million buyers. Women account for 86% of the sellers.

The company was founded in 2005 by Rob Kalin, a carpenter making handmade wooden computers with nowhere to sell them. He left the company in 2011 and was replaced as CEO by Chad Dickerson, 42, a former Yahoo Inc. executive.

Accel Partners, Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures planned to sell shares in the IPO, filings show. Accel will own 22.4% of Etsy after the offering, while Index Ventures will hold 10.6%. Union Square will have a 12.6% stake, while CEO Dickerson will own 1.9% of the company.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Allen & Co. managed Etsy’s IPO. The shares are listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol ETSY.





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