Yelp is the newest member of the Internet company IPO parade this year. The local business reviews site filed on Thursday afternoon to raise up to $100 million in a public offering.
Yelp, based in San Francisco, has not yet said which exchange its stock will trade on or how many shares it plans to sell.
Founded in 2004, Yelp has developed a ubiquitous brand and amassed more than 22 million reviews of restaurants, salons, dentists and other businesses. But like many other tech companies testing the public markets this year, it isn’t yet profitable.
For the first nine months of 2011, Yelp had a net loss of $7.6 million on sales of $58.4 million. During the same period in 2010, Yelp lost $8.6 million on $32.5 million in revenue.
Yelp’s main revenue stream is selling advertising to local and national businesses. It also runs daily deals, but in August Yelp cut half its sales staff in that unit.
Yelp’s filing revealed that Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), which is developing its own Yelp-like offerings, is a key traffic source — which puts Yelp in a precarious position. At a Senate hearing earlier this year on Google, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman testified about Yelp’s growing rivalry with the search Goliath.
“[Google] has promoted its own competing products, including Google’s local products, in its search results,” Yelp wrote in its filing. “Given the large volume of traffic to our website and the importance of the placement and display of results of a user’s search, similar actions in the future could have a substantial negative effect on our business and results of operations.
Last quarter, about 61 million unique visitors hit Yelp’s site, and around 5 million used its mobile app.