Five things we learned about Etsy from its IPO filing

Most of its members in the U.S. are women, and many consider their stores a business

Etsy's site connects buyers with sellers offering handmade goods in countries around the world.

Etsy's site connects buyers with sellers offering handmade goods in countries around the world.

Etsy, the online marketplace for buying and selling handmade goods and crafts, disclosed some interesting tidbits about the company's business when it filed to go public Wednesday.

Did you know that 86 percent of Etsy's U.S. sellers at the end of last year were women? Or that three-quarters of its sellers consider their online store a business rather than a hobby?

Etsy is hoping to raise US$100 million from the offering to help expand its business. Here are five other things we learned from combing through its S-1 filing.

1. International appeal

Etsy had 54 million members at the end of last year. Of those, it had 1.4 million active sellers and 19.8 million active buyers, where "active" means they bought or sold something in the last year. They're located in nearly every country of the world; Etsy's marketplace is available in 10 languages.

2. Revenue is booming, but there are no profits

Etsy generated revenue of $196 million last year, up 56 percent from 2013. It makes much of that money from fees it collects on items sold and services such as promoted placement of goods.

The company has been losing money, though. It lost $15.2 million last year, much more than its loss of $796,000 in 2013. The year before that it lost $2.39 million.

It expects operating expenses to increase "substantially" as it hires more employees, increases marketing and invests in new services. Which segues into...

3. Rising product development costs

Etsy's costs in this area grew from $436,000 in 2012 to $785,000 in 2013 and $1.46 million in 2014. In addition to its desktop site, Etsy built mobile apps for iOS and Android that include search, curation and social features.

4. Rapid headcount growth

Etsy almost tripled its employee count between 2011 and 2014, from 251 to 685.

5. Do-gooder values

In January it formed Etsy.org, a nonprofit that builds education programs to "reimagine how and to whom business is taught." It will focus on educating women and other groups under-represented in entrepreneurial activity. The company expects to use $300,000 of the proceeds from its IPO to help fund Etsy.org.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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Zach Miners

IDG News Service
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