Etsy is introducing a new crowdfunding pilot called Fund on Etsy. The platform will allow Etsy merchants to raise funding for new handmade products.
The pilot will begin on June 16 and end on August 16, and is only available to a limited group of sellers within the U.S.
Etsy says that crowdfunding is the newest way it’s looking to bring support to its community of 1.4 million makers. Already the company offers a range of tools for creating and managing listings and payments, promoting merchandise, and tracking orders. It also has a wholesale branch that connects makers with retail shop owners.
The new funding platform is aimed at helping sellers raise money for a range of materials, including supplies, tools, studio space, and staffing.
“Over the past few years, crowdfunding has emerged as a viable and friendly alternative to traditional financing channels for many creatives around the world. 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,” wrote Joe Lallouz, product lead at Etsy, in a blog post.
This is one of the first innovations to come out of Etsy since the company went public earlier this year. Since its IPO, the company has really started to refine the community it’s built by tightening restrictions on sellers for copyright infringement and the sale of intangible products or services. Entering into crowdfunding is another way that Etsy is showing investors it’s serious about turning a profit.
Etsy also said that sellers who are interested in crowdfunding a project through Etsy should show their support for the program during the pilot by contributing to one of the funds.