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It Seems a Matter of When, Not If, Etsy Will Go Public

Earlier this month there were two interviews in which an Etsy executive and investor were asked about a possible IPO – Initial Public Offering. Was Etsy ready to take the company public, they were asked?

On May 2, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson told the AP (via TopTechNews) an IPO was a “possible outcome” for Etsy, but didn’t have any plans do so in the next year. “We think it’s really important to continue to serve our community and we think independence really matters. We’re not the traditional Silicon Valley type of company, where we just have this bloodthirst to go public, but it’s definitely a possible outcome.”

Days later, Etsy investor Fred Wilson of venture capital firm Union Square Ventures said Etsy was “well positioned to go public” during a conference session, according to the Wall Street Journal. Etsy could go public in a year or so, assuming the market for initial public offerings isn’t sour, Wilson said.

Notably, the comments section of the Journal piece contained posts from Etsy sellers criticizing the company for a variety of reasons, including suggestions that the site was full of mass-produced rather than handmade goods.

Going public is a favorite exit strategy for investors to get a return on their investment – and investors do want an eventual payoff. Etsy investors include Burda, Accel Partners and Index Ventures in addition to Union Square Ventures. When Etsy raised $40 million in funding in 2012, the deal was rumored to value Etsy at more than $600 million.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.