Etsy started trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange today as a public company. And in the first few hours, the stock price has more than doubled.
The IPO priced Etsy shares at $16 dollars each, raising the company $267m and valuing the crafts and vintage marketplace at $1.8bn. Etsy opened this morning at $31 a share and the stock has peaked so far today at $35. Get the current price here.
The real concerns that any Etsy fans will be worried about lie with how this IPO will shape the company’s character and ethos in the years to come. Investors and analysts are tough taskmasters wanting growth, efficiency and profits. And Etsy is a company that has warned it may never be profitable.
It has also been fastidious in fostering a quirky, beautiful site and a sense of community amongst buyers and sellers. I saw first hand at eBay between 1999 – 2006 that the pursuit of traditional success like profits chased out any sense of online community or fun that eBay ever once had.
Etsy boss Chad Dickerson is alive to these concerns and expressed them to investors. He says: “The investors we met on the roadshow understand that the key to Etsy’s long-term success is building on and extending what has made Etsy successful to date: an inspired community of creative entrepreneurs, buyers who want to buy unique merchandise that they can’t find anywhere else, and a values-led community-based business that focuses on the long term.”
These are encouraging words but, whilst wishing them all the best in what is something of an experiment, I’m not hopeful they can preserve Etsy’s uniqueness.
I’m going to try my vintage watches on etsy. Cant be worse than ebay at the moment for unique items.
In many respects Etsy feels like eBay did in the early years. However, how long it can keep that is anyone’s guess. I fear it won’t be too long before it all starts to change into just another run of the mill marketplace.
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