Business

Etsy stock price doubles after $276M IPO

Etsy Inc., an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, saw its stock double in price in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq exchange.

Website selling handmade, vintage goods is first 'B Corporation' to get public listing

Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, watches as his company's shares opened for trading at $16 at Nasdaq in New York. (Mark Lennihan/Associated Press)

Etsy Inc., an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, saw its stock double in price Thursday in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq exchange.

Brooklyn-based Etsy raised $267 million in its initial public offering (IPO) with shares priced at $16. But after trading began Thursday, its stock price soared above $34 before settling back to $30 at the close.

Etsy is unusual because it is a "B Corporation" — a term used to denote companies that aim to be better for the environment, their own workers or members and dedicated to social engagement. It is the first B Corporation to gain an IPO.

The website was founded a decade ago by a carpenter looking to sell a wood-encased computer and now sells everything from hand-crocheted baby clothes to cheese-making kits to vintage typewriters.

It also has a big following among consumers seeking unique gifts, making it a plum for investors who want a slice of an innovative online commerce company.

Expansion plans

Etsy plans to invest in marketing and to expand globally, as well as developing a manufacturing program that allows sellers of successful products expand production.

As the end of 2014, Etsy had 1.4 million active sellers and almost 20 million buyers. It makes its revenue from charging sellers for listing and for a portion of each sale.

Etsy revenue grew 161 per cent to $195.6 million from 2012 to 2014. However, it has never made a profit.

With $300,000 of the money raised by the IPO,  it plans to fund Etsy.org, a non-profit for educating women and minorities on how to create their own businesses. It also set aside stock for sellers and some of its biggest customers.

Now headed by former Yahoo executive Chad Dickerson, it will have to balance keeping its socially conscious ethos alive while satisfying stockholder demands. 

So far on Thursday, Wall Street seems to be willing to gamble they'll be able to maintain both.

"We think that it's a very interesting company and investors are going to like the growth they see," said Kathleen Smith, IPO exchange-traded fund manager at IPO research firm Renaissance Capital.

Etsy is trading on the Nasdaq under the "ETSY" ticker.

With files from The Associated Press

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