Online retailer Etsy files for IPO valued at up to $100M

AP News
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Posted: Mar 04, 2015 7:10 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Etsy, the online retailer used by hobbyists and people who make their living selling their crafts, is going public.

The Brooklyn-based company filed paperwork Wednesday for an initial public offering of stock valued at up to $100 million. It did not say yet how many shares it plans to sell or specify the timing of the deal.

But the company said up to 5 percent of the shares sold in its IPO will be set aside for individual investors. That will allow U.S.-based Etsy users and others to participate in the offering, it said.

LendingClub Corp., which facilitates personal and small business loans by connecting borrowers with investors, offered a similar program when it went public in December.

Matt Kennedy, an analyst for IPO ETF manager Renaissance Capital, said companies can set aside shares for retail investors to build engagement with their users and to reflect their culture. He noted Etsy and LendingClub are both built around communities, and by setting aside some shares for their users, they can counter the perception that the IPO primarily benefits the company and a few large investment firms.

Etsy was founded in June 2005 as a marketplace for handmade goods and craft supplies. Originally called Indieco, it changed its name a year later.

It generated $1.93 billion in gross sales in 2014, posting $195.6 million in revenue, up 56 percent from 2013. It said almost 20 million people made at least one purchase through its site last year.

Its losses rose to $15.2 million in 2014 from $800,000 in 2013. The company had 685 employees as of Dec. 31.

It says it will use proceeds from the IPO for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Etsy Inc. plans to list its shares on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "ETSY."