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Yelp Inc.
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At a Glance

Uppers

Young company with an innovative vision

Strong sales training

Downers

High turnover in sales force

No expressed commitment to diversity

The Bottom Line

Yelp is a young, hip company with an innovative product and significant opportunities, particularly in sales.

About Yelp Inc.

Yelp offers user-generated reviews and information on local businesses and service providers through its website and mobile app. Its content covers restaurants, beauty & fitness, health, and home and local services, as well as shopping providers. It includes around 205 million consumer reviews. Yelp provides multiple channels for consumers and businesses to engage directly with each other. In addition to writing and responding to reviews, consumers and businesses can interact through messaging features like Request-A-Quote and through its convenient transaction capabilities such as online food ordering. Yelp has a presence in cities across the US, and Canada. The firm was founded in 2004 by Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons. Almost all of the company's sales came from the US.

Operations

Yelp operates single operating and reporting segment. The company's products and services are advertising, which accounts for some 95% of sales, transactions, and other accounts for the remaining.

The company provides a range of free and paid advertising products to businesses of all sizes, including the ability to deliver targeted search advertising to large local audiences through our website and mobile app. Some of its products and services are free online business account, branded profile, enhanced profile, yelp verified licensed, and business highlights, among others.

In addition to advertising products, it also offers several features and consumer-interactive tools to facilitate transactions between consumers and the local businesses such as Eat24 and the Grubhub Partnership, Yelp Platform, and Yelp Deals.
Other services include subscription services, licensing payments for access to Yelp data and other non-advertising, non-transaction arrangements like Yelp Reservations, Yelp Waitlist, Yelp Knowledge, and other partnerships.

The company had approximately 205 million cumulative reviews of almost every type of local business. The restaurant business accounts nearly 50% of total reviews and roughly 20% of reviewed businesses, Home & Local services with about 10% reviews and over 15% reviewed businesses, Shopping with some 10% of reviews and more than 15% of reviewed businesses, Beauty and Fitness with around 10% reviews and reviewed businesses, and Other with nearly 20% reviews and some 30% reviewed businesses.

Geographic Reach

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Yelp has office space in Scottsdale, Arizona; Chicago, Illinois; New York, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; and internationally in Toronto, Canada; London, England; and Hamburg, Germany. Almost all of the company's sales came from the US.

Sales and Marketing

The company sells its products through its sales force, indirectly through partners, and online through its website.

The company's sales and marketing expenses were $500.4 million in 2019, $483.3 million in 2018, and $437.4 million in 2017.

Financial Performance

Yelp has seen sizable growth in its revenue since 2015, though its net income has fluctuated and profits took a hit in 2015 and 2016 when the company reported losses.

During 2019, the company generated net revenue of $1 billion, representing an 8% growth over 2018. The increase was due to an increase in advertising and other services revenue, offset by the decrease in transaction revenue.

Net income was $40.9 million in 2019, down from $55.4 million in 2018. Higher general and administrative costs, as well as an increase in product development expenses, contributed to the decline. Depreciation and amortization expense also increased, attributable to increases in depreciation associated with capitalized website and internal - use software development costs.

In 2019, cash and cash equivalents were $192.3 million, while net cash provided by operating activities was $204.8 million. Net cash provided by investing activities was $124.3 million and net cash used in financing activities was $491.5 million. Yelp's main cash uses in 2019 were the purchase of marketable securities, repurchases of common stock, and taxes paid related to the net share settlement of equity awards.

Strategy

Following Yelp's transition to a multi-channel, on-demand business model, which was completed in 2018 with its move to non-term advertising contracts, it embarked on an ambitious, multi-year business transformation plan designed to drive and sustain profitable long-term growth.

The strategy underlying this plan, which it began executing in 2019, looks to leverage its competitive advantages—its brand, large audience of intent-driven consumers, content and the network dynamics on its platform—to increase the value it provides to consumers and businesses, while continuing to drive efficiency in its business model. Yelp has various strategic focus points to continue executing its plan in 2020 which covers revenue growth and improved profitability.

Yelp is looking to expand its product offerings in 2020 to complement the affordably priced products it launched in 2019, including its Business Highlights, Portfolios and Yelp Connect products. Yelp also plans to further expand its multi-location sales force in 2020 to extend coverage to multi-location businesses in the services category.

Yelp is also looking to improve retention by delivering more value. In 2019, it improved non-term advertising revenue retention by a mid-teens percentage as it delivered more leads at lower CPCs. Yelp plans to continue these efforts as well as further enhance the quality and targeting of its ads in 2020.

Yelp Inc.

140 New Montgomery St STE 900
San Francisco, CA 94105-3822
Phone: 1 (415) 908-3801

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: YELP
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
CFO: Charles C. Baker
COO: Joseph R. Nachman
CEO: Jeremy Stoppelman
Employees (This Location): 93
Employees (All Locations): 5,950

Major Office Locations

San Francisco, CA

Other Locations

Scottsdale, AZ