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Etsy invests in its international army of craftrepreneurs

Etsy Chad Dickerson

“Community” online marketplace Etsy is going global, despite already being global. Using a new $40 million round of funding led by Index Ventures, the company is trying grow even more by focusing on its thousands of sellers.

“With all the talk about how far we have come, it is tempting to think of Etsy as “big” now,” said Etsy chief executive Chad Dickerson in a blog post. “When I look at Etsy, though, I see a tiny seedling.”

Dickerson has been the company’s CEO for only nine months, though he joined in 2008. He explained that since his early days at Etsy, the vintage and handmade goods marketplace has grown dramatically — making $525 million in sales last year — but it’s not big enough. To grow the number of buyers, inherently you’ve got to improve the community of sellers. It seems that’s what this round is focused on: the businesses that live within Etsy.

Etsy’s 875,000 sellers are from all over the world, but the website doesn’t operate in their languages. Dickerson prides himself on the community feel that Etsy provides, saying that “we don’t think of it as Etsy becoming more like the rest of the world, rather the rest of the world becoming more like Etsy.” So the company will be using its new funding to create international websites, and bring that community feeling abroad.

Indeed, Etsy has already begun that process. The company has launched German and French sites, but that doesn’t account for the other 147 countries where sellers live.

The funding will also go toward building new tools for sellers. Etsy recently launched a number of those tools including the iPhone app and direct checkout. It has also acquired artisanal online marketplace Trunkt, which should bring in a new class of sellers and buyers looking for those finer goods.

Etsy is also focusing on the female community, encouraging female developers to participate in its newly announced Hacker Grant where a group of these women will head to Etsy’s Brooklyn headquarters for a summer of coding-honing.

Dickerson assures that as the resources come in, we will see Etsy start to move faster on these improvements, perhaps even acquiring other companies. Etsy has around 300 employees and 15 million registered users to date. The company sees 42 million unique visits to the website a month.

Index Ventures led this round with existing investors Burda, Union Square Ventures and Accel Partners all contributing.

hat tip The New York Times