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Crafty commerce site Etsy gets $27 million in funding

The New York-based site plans to use the fresh cash to expand operations and buffer against an uncertain economic climate.

One of New York's most talked about tech start-ups these days is undoubtedly Etsy, the Brooklyn-based online marketplace for buying and selling handmade goods. And it's continuing to generate headlines: co-founder Robert Kalin announced in a blog post Wednesday that the company has picked up an impressive $27 million in Series D financing.

The venture funding comes from existing investors Union Square Ventures and Hubert Burda Media, as well as Accel Partners' Jim Breyer, who will take on a seat on Etsy's board of directors.

Etsy is "almost break-even" when it comes to profits, Kalin admitted in his blog post, but it does have 650,000 registered users, 120,000 of whom are classified as "sellers." The company employs about 50 people, and last year opened the Etsy Labs community space in a converted industrial space in Brooklyn.

With the new financing, the company hopes to achieve a laundry list of goals: expand beyond the U.S. dollar and the English language, improve its search and checkout technology, ensure that it can pay its employees fairly, keep its servers running, and have a "cushion" to ensure stability through current economic woes.

It's as much a social mission as an economic one, Kalin wrote. "Throughout the myriad challenges since we launched the Web site, we have worked day and night to see things through. We're in this for the long haul," he said. "We believe that the world cannot keep consuming the way it does now, and that buying handmade is part of the solution."