3. Etsy

Artisan online marketplace

Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy
Source: Etsy
Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy

Founders: Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire, Haim Schoppik, Jared Tarbell
CEO: Chad Dickerson
Date launched: 2005
Funding:
$97.3 million
Industries disrupted:
Consumer Goods, Retail
Disrupting: Amazon, eBay, Michaels Stores
Competition: Bonanza, Pinterest, Square

What started as a website for artists and crafters to sell handmade and vintage goods nearly 10 years ago is fast becoming an online and mobile retail giant. Since Etsy opened for business in 2005, more than 14 million shoppers worldwide have made a purchase, and more than 100 million items have been sold.

The company, which has been profitable since 2009, makes its money by taking a 3.5 percent cut of all the items sold on its site, plus 20 cents for listing products. It's not doing badly with this formula. Last year the company passed the $1 billion sales mark, driven largely by customers viewing and buying Etsy merchandise on their mobile devices.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2014 DISRUPTOR 50

Now the company is about to launch another revenue stream as it gets ready to unveil Etsy Wholesale. This division will connect buyers from online as well as from brick-and-mortar retailers—such as furniture company West Elm and Nordstrom—with some of Etsy's artisan sellers. Etsy will take a 3.5 percent cut of the transactions between B2B buyers and sellers and charge a one-time $100 fee for merchant sellers to set up their account.

The wholesale division debuted last year by invitation only, but Etsy will officially launch the B2B site on Aug. 1 for any of its sellers that are interested.

Who do you dream of putting out of business?

"Etsy brings the ability to buy something from someone you can have a connection with, as opposed to the big-box, impersonal retail." -Chad Dickerson, CEO
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