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B Corp Debuts on Wall Street

22 April 2015 at 12:00 pm
Xavier Smerdon
Craft marketplace and B Corporation Etsy has made its Wall Street debut, with the company’s CEO maintaining its values will not be compromised by going public to investors.

Xavier Smerdon | 22 April 2015 at 12:00 pm


B Corp Debuts on Wall Street
22 April 2015 at 12:00 pm

Craft marketplace and B Corporation Etsy has made its Wall Street debut, with the company’s CEO maintaining its values will not be compromised by going public to investors.

The global online marketplace made its debut on the Nasdaq stock market last week, offering over 16 million shares priced at US$16 each to become only the second B Corp to go public.

Etsy’s chief executive, Chad Dickerson, rang the opening bell flanked by Etsy sellers at Nasdaq’s headquarters in Times Square, Shares began trading under the symbol "ETSY" as part of the company’s Initial Public Offering (IPO).

A predictably-strong opening day saw the share price rise to $30 by the close of trade, although their value has since fallen.

Etsy is one of over 1,000 B Corps worldwide, awarded the certification by Not for Profit organisation B Lab – who described Etsy going public as a “great milestone” for the B Corp movement.

Companies receive certification based on their adherence to social and environmental accountability guidelines and principles of responsible business.

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson made assurances that the money-making values of Etsy’s new stockholders would not compromise its values.

“Today marks a significant expansion of the Etsy community as we welcome new investors to the Etsy community,” Dickerson said, announcing the move on the company website.

“[I] had the opportunity to meet and speak with these investors about Etsy and how we think about our community and our business, particularly our commitments to running a values-led company and a business that focuses on shared success.

“They understand and respect that we intend to keep our operating philosophy now that we are a public company, and they share our values and vision.

“The questions we got were quite often focused on our plans to preserve what makes Etsy special as we grow….Etsy has become a touchpoint of debate for larger issues, including whether the human-centered craftsmanship that we exist to support is compatible with being a public company, which requires a new set of responsibilities to shareholders.

“We understand the concern, but reject the premise that there is a choice to make between the two. Etsy’s strength as a business and community comes from its uniqueness in the world and we intend to preserve it. We don’t believe that people and profit are mutually exclusive.

“We believe that Etsy can be a model for other public companies by operating a values-driven and human-centered business while benefiting people. Financial success is important for the company, because that is what allows us to reinvest in our platform and grow our business sustainably — just like the businesses who have a home on Etsy.

“The process of going public has also made us a stronger and more disciplined company, with more transparency than ever before.”

Founded in 2005, Etsy is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York and has some 54 million members,1.4 million active sellers, and 19.8 million active buyers around the world.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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