Reverb.com sold to e-commerce giant Etsy for $275 million

Deal with the popular online marketplace will see Reverb spun off as an independent business, and founder David Kalt step down.

reverb namm
The Reverb-sponsored stage at Summer NAMM 2018. Image: Jason Davis / Getty Images for NAMM

Hugely popular online musical instrument marketplace Reverb.com has announced that it has been sold to US e-commerce giant Etsy, in a deal worth $275 million.

Reverb, which was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur and guitar enthusiast David Kalt shortly after he purchased Chicago Music Exchange, has rapidly grown to become one of the most popular places for musicians to buy and sell new, used and vintage music gear.

The deal with Etsy – the online marketplace for vintage and hand-made clothes, art and craft items – is expected to be completed in the coming months, and upon completion Reverb will operate as a standalone business.

In a statement on Reverb.com announcing the sale, founder David Kalt was keen to stress that the sale would not change the customer experience, and would aid the company’s growth.

“With Etsy as our parent company, we’ll remain the marketplace built for the music community by a team of musicians and music lovers,” he said. “Your ability to buy, sell, learn, and connect on Reverb will not change. At the same time, we’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.”

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In a separate statement, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman added: “Vibrant two-sided marketplaces are lightning in a bottle – there are only a handful of them operating at scale – and Reverb is one. This transaction is a great strategic fit that firmly aligns with our mission of keeping commerce human. Reverb is the ‘Etsy’ of musical instruments, with significant competitive advantages, and we see tremendous value and untapped potential in the business.”

Kalt also stated his intention to step down as CEO once the transition period has been completed.

“Like a beloved instrument, Reverb has meant more to me than I can put into words, but it has always been destined for a new leader if and when the time was right,” he explained. “As a founder, there’s nothing more rewarding than helping create a team and a business that you know will not only stand, but flourish when you take a step back.

“That’s why after the acquisition closes, I’ll eventually hand over the CEO role to a new leader. I’ll remain closely involved during the transition and after that, I’ll remain Reverb’s biggest fan (And continue to drool over every ‘60s Strat that goes up for sale.) I’m looking forward to watching this community continue to grow, while also spending more time with family.

Read Reverb’s full press release about the sale here

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