Crafts marketplace Etsy is testing out a crowdfunding program akin to Kickstarter that's aimed at helping US sellers raise money for their homespun wares.
The program, being called Fund on Etsy, is similar to other crowdsourced financing programs in that a supporter is only charged for their donation once a project is successfully funded.
While crowdfunding is experiencing a boom at the moment, Etsy is keeping Fund on a short leash. Right now there are about 100 sellers allowed in the crowdfunding program, which is set to run from June 16 through August 16.
"Over the past few years, crowdfunding has emerged as a viable and friendly alternative to traditional financing channels for many creatives around the world," wrote Joe Lallouz, product lead at Etsy, in a blog post. "We believe that crowdfunding on Etsy is a natural way for sellers to forge even more resonant connections with their existing communities and customer bases and to grow in ways that may not have been possible before."
The launch of Fund comes at a critical moment for Brooklyn-based Etsy. The online artisan juggernaut just went public in April, and it's now focused on finding additional revenue streams to prove to investors it can turn a profit.
But as Lallouz explained his blog post, Etsy has been slowly building out its platform and seller services over the last 10 years, "including tools to create and manage listings and payments, promote items, track orders and expand into new channels like wholesale." Fund on Etsy fits in as a tool for financing and product development.