We knew it was coming, and today is IPO day for Yelp. The citizen-review company we all love to hate had its shares initially priced at $15 last night, but they’re already soaring to $25 and up. That kind of rise is fairly typical for a high-profile offering like this, but it nevertheless means that investors have pushed the company’s value up to about $1.5 billion today. But, uh, will they ever actually be profitable?
As the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the company has booked losses of $16.7 million and $9.6 million the past two years, despite rising revenues. And even though people seem to think Yelp’s loyal and active community of grumbling armchair critics is difficult to replicate, the company spends most of its money on sales and marketing — and hasn’t yet been able to get out of the red with ad dollars alone.