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Etsy Acquires Reverb in $275M Cash Deal

CEO/founder Kalt to step down after transition.

Chicago, IL (July 24, 2019)—Etsy, an e-commerce website focused on handmade and vintage items and craft supplies, has acquired Reverb, an online marketplace for new, used and vintage musical instrument and pro audio equipment, in a cash deal reported to be worth approximately $275 million.

According to an announcement from David Kalt, CEO and founder of Reverb, “With Etsy as our parent company, we’ll remain the marketplace built for the music community by a team of musicians and music lovers.” The acquisition is expected to close “in the coming months.”

Audio’s Place in the Rising Global AV Market

Kalt notes that Reverb will remain a standalone business, “but with the added support of Etsy.” The two companies have had a friendly relationship for some years, he adds. “[W]e’ll have added resources to continue growing and improving the Reverb community. Think of it like going to see your all-time favorite band and getting a surprise sit-in from another musician you admire,” he states.

As Kalt tells it, Etsy inspired him to start his own company: “Reverb has always found inspiration in Etsy. Since our inception, we’ve admired their unwavering support of creative businesses and entrepreneurs, their values-driven approach to business, and their dedication to keeping commerce human (Not to mention, their appreciation for all things vintage.) Founded in 2005 as a springboard for makers and artists, Etsy forged a path and gave me the confidence to start Reverb when I saw the need for a musician’s marketplace six years ago.”

Reverb, founded in Chicago in 2012, received initial funding from Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, David Lowery of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven, country artist Brad Paisley and others. A second round of investment in 2017 came from the likes of Roger McNamee, an early and current investor in Facebook, Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, and Adam Bain, Twitter’s former COO.

While Reverb’s focus has long been on musical instruments, it also offers gear in the pro audio and home audio categories. Over the years, Reverb has provided a platform for dozens of artists, including Green Day, Sonic Youth, the Killers, Moby and Wilco, to sell hundreds of pieces of equipment from their collections through their own branded shops.

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Kalt will remain in place as CEO for the moment, but says that he will eventually hand the position to a new leader, stating, “I’ll remain closely involved during the transition and after that, I’ll remain Reverb’s biggest fan.”

Reverb •