Social Enterprise Etsy raises $267M in an IPO

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEtsy Inc., the website founded a decade ago by a carpenter looking to sell wooden computers, nearly doubled in its trading debut after raising $267M in an initial public offering.

Etsy is a social enterprise and a marketplace of artisan-crafted handmade and vintage goods, along with art and craft supplies, As of December 31, 2014, Etsy had 54 million users registered as members and the peer-to-peer online marketplace connected 1.4 million active sellers with 19.8 million active buyers. At the end of 2014, Etsy had 685 employees, and had 29 million items listed on its website. WIith the raise of about $267M in capital the entire company is now valued at about $1.8B

Etsy is a certified Benefit Corporation, or B Corp, one of a growing number of companies that pledge to adhere to social and environmental accountability guidelines set by a nonprofit organization called B Lab. And Etsy on Thursday became only the second for-profit company to go public out of more than 1,000 companies with the B Corp certification.

The IPO broke somewhat from tradition in terms of its structure. Hearkening to its roots as an online marketplace for the masses, in its IPO the company made a concerted effort to sell shares to a large swath of smaller investors and focus on fewer big investors.

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.

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