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Megan McArdle

Is Etsy Crafty Enough for an IPO?

Etsy, the online marketplace for crafts and vintage items, is hoping to raise $300 million in what could be the biggest IPO to come out of New York since 1999.
An early look at Etsy's ticker symbol.

An early look at Etsy's ticker symbol.

Photographer: Mark Ovaska/Bloomberg

Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Etsy, the online marketplace for crafts and vintage items, may be getting ready to do an initial public offering. The site that started as masking tape on the floor of a Brooklyn apartment now has about 26 million items for sale, and it is hoping to raise $300 million in what could be the biggest IPO to come out of New York since 1999.

It's only a coincidence that this comes soon after Instacart, the online shopping service, announced it has raised more than $200 million in venture funding. But both represent a rising trend in recent years: the success of companies that enable the freelance economy. Like Uber, AirBnB and a host of others, these companies allow people to do what used to be full-time work as part-time gigs, or to strike out on their own instead of working for an established company.