In many ways, Grand St. aspired to build an Etsy for electronics. Now Etsy has acquired Grand St., the company announced today.
The deal, which is still closing, was a small one. It consisted of a mix of cash and Etsy stock, with the total value coming in under $10 million, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
This person also said that Etsy had made it clear to Grand St. that it intended to make a real push to attract more gadget makers and designers to sell on Etsy. Etsy already sells some electronics and hardware.
“We can do it with you or instead of you,” was essentially the message, though it came across more as a heads up than an ultimatum, this person said.
(Update 5:16 pm ET: Grand St. CEO Amanda Peyton, via an Etsy spokeswoman, said no threats were ever made or implied in deal meetings. “It was, very truly, a meeting of the minds with a company that shares our values. We felt that now was the right time for us to join forces and accelerate our mission.”)
Grand St. launched publicly last summer to give independent gadget makers and designers a place to turn their hobbies into a business or get wider distribution for fledgling hardware businesses. The site started off releasing a few unique products a week and then expanded into a marketplace open to a wider array of sellers. Grand St. has listed for sale such products as solar USB chargers and mini drones.
Part of its appeal has been the way it allows sellers to tell the story behind their product, both in text and in video — as I noted in a feature in the fall.
But while Etsy and Grand St. both see a future in the independent electronic selling market, Grand St. perhaps launched a little too early, the source implied.
“It’s just a question of market timing.”
All eight of Grand St.’s employees will move over to Etsy, where they will start working next week, said Etsy spokeswoman Sara Cohen.
The Grand St. team will continue to run its marketplace in the “near term,” the blog post said, but Cohen wouldn’t comment on whether the site might be folded into the main Etsy site down the line.
The site had recently released features such as preordering and beta testing that Cohen said Etsy is interested in learning from.
Grand St. had raised a $1.3 million seed investment round from First Round Capital, David Tisch and a few others.
This story has been updated to include comment from Grand St.’s CEO and to make it clear that Etsy already sells some electronics and hardware.