There was a time when Etsy was a nice, young company trying to marry the ethos of global good with corporate profit all while helping people sell their handmade goods on a platform built in the hipster paradise of Brooklyn.
But those days are officially over. Wanna see proof?
That's Etsy stock over the past month. Let's play a game; show us where you think the market became finally convinced that Etsy was done playing do-gooder and is now ready to worship at the altar of Capitalism. We were always worried about Etsy's post-IPO soul because it seemed destined to fall prey to basic market logic. That said, even we didn't see things happening this quickly.
After some really rough stock performance, Etsy replaced its idealist CEO and chairman with a combo plate of a mercenary tech CEO and a venture capitalist. It's also about to conduct some painful layoffs. These alone would convey that Etsy is experimenting with the notion of profit over charity, but reporting from the WSJ seems to indicate that Etsy is freebasing that shit.
TPG Group Holdings revealed a 4.3% stake, while Dragoneer Investment Group said it now holds a 3.7% position in the Brooklyn-based online handmade-and-vintage goods marketplace. In separate regulatory filings, both said they’ve asked Etsy “to engage in discussions regarding strategic alternatives.” That’s commonly the language used to describe an effort to explore a potential sale or merger.
You know what two things you don't see together a lot? "TPG Capital" and "B Corporation."
Seeing Etsy co-opted by private equity giants is the true end of whatever Etsy attempted to be when it curated its much ballyhooed artisanal IPO. Seeing that it has finally sold - at least a large chunk of - its soul has made all of Wall Street's darkest dreams for Etsy come true, and that would be sad if Etsy wasn't a publicly-traded e-commerce company answering only to its shareholders by making actual money and keeping it.
So Etsy is dead. Long live Etsy.