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将公益进行到底 Kickstarter表示永不出售上市

2014年,Kickstarter宣布成为B类企业。类似于Warby Parker眼镜公司和手工工艺品在线平台Etsy,Kickstarter将把主要精力放在那些能够帮助大众的项目上(比如,帮助那些手作小物件或者其他项目成为现实),并将这一原则写入公司章程。Kickstarter董事会成员对这样的企业定位给予了充分认可,并且十分看重由此带来的企业社会影响。

然而,Kickstarter不希望自己的企业使命因为金钱而变质,所以他们宣布重新整合公司结构,将其改组为公益公司,以为公众做好事为己任。

Kickstarter首席执行官Yancey Strickler在接受采访时表示,"我们从没想过要出售公司或者上市,因为那样我们就会做出一些我们认为不利于公司发展的决定。"

手工工艺品在线网站Etsy已于今年早些时候公开上市。而Warby Parker眼镜公司目前还坚守在私募市场,不过在是否上市这个问题上已经开始动摇。

宣布这个不上市的决定应该会使公司的取得更好的业绩。

投资人Chris Sacca在接受采访时表示:"Kickstarter是一家发展迅速的高回报企业,作为这家公司的投资人,我对它的业绩很满意。我相信,Kickstarter会最终为这些忠诚的投资者带来满意的回报。"

虽然Kickstarter已经盈利,但它现在看起来却只是个比大多数风投支持的公司发展更快的缓慢增长的成熟企业。公司改组后,Kickstarter融资难度可能会加大,而这也会阻碍公司的进一步发展。投资者恐怕难以继续获得以往的高回报了。"

另外,Kickstarter也可能无法再为软件工程师提供原有那么多数量的原始股了,而原始股常常是软件工程师加盟早期创业企业的主要动力。有使命固然重要,但是回报往往才是吸引人才、留住人才的关键因素。

Kickstarter joined other tech darlings like Warby Parker and Etsy in 2014 in becoming a “B-Corporation,” which means committing to doing something that helps the public at large (in this case, helping make home-conceived gadgets and other projects a reality) and including that in your corporate charter. Board members take the mission into account, and B-Corps report on their social impact.

Now, Kickstarter is taking a step beyond its peers with efforts to make sure that money does not corrupt their mission. It has announced plans to reincorporate as a public benefit corporation, which legally obligates it to act for the public good.

“We don’t ever want to sell or go public,” CEO Yancey Strickler told the New York Times (paywall). “That would push the company to make choices that we don’t think are in the best interest of the company.”

Etsy went public earlier this year. Warby Parker has stuck to private markets to this point, but has reportedly at least flirted with the idea of going public.

Announcing this decision should have fascinating consequences for the company.

“[Kickstarter] is a fast-growing, highly profitable enterprise. So, as an owner of the stock, I feel comfortable that I will be rewarded for that,” investor Chris Sacca told The Times. “When the time is right, I’m confident that Kickstarter will return cash to their loyal shareholders.”

Although Kickstarter is profitable, it may start looking like a slower-growing, mature company far more quickly than most venture-backed firms do. By reincorporating, it may make raising future investment capital more difficult, which could hinder expansion. Shareholders aren’t likely to see the sort of return they’re used to.

Plus, Kickstarter may no longer be able to provide the kinds of high upside equity packages that software engineers tend to expect when joining an early stage company. A mission is great. But compensation is often the factor in attracting and retaining talent.


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