Yelp! has announced that it got $15 million in a fourth round of funding led by DAG and existing investors.
The company also sent some growth metrics:
October ’07 — 5M Unique Visitors
December ’07 — 6M UVs
January ’08 — 7M UVs
February ’08 — Numbers aren’t in yet but there were 8.3M UVs in the past 30 days.
Total number of reviews posted to the site = 2.3M.
It took 2 years and 3 months to reach 1M reviews (May 2007).
In the past 8 months an additional 1.3 million reviews were posted.
In its short history, Yelp has become something of a model for how to build a local review site and has become a clear favorite of the twenty- and thirty-something urban “foodie.” Its success has also spawned a number of similar models in Europe, such as Qype, Welovelocal and TouchLocal.
The challenge for Yelp will be to replicate itself in new cities, broaden (and deepen) its base of users, and spread its ad support beyond restaurants and bars into the services arena — something it says it has been having success with.
It’s clearly strongest in hometown San Francisco, and it has good traction in New York. It also sells ads in Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and San Diego.
So –what will it do with its new money? We’d guess it is likely to be used to expand to new markets, add new verticals, make minor acquisitions and do more marketing. The company has certianly used some interesting marketing tactics to seed reviews in San Francisco such as providing “People on Yelp Love Us” stickers for businesses to put in their windows, or lobbying the SF City Hall to establish a “Yelp Day” in the city (there has also been a small but interesting Yelp backlash as there is with any social phenomenon). Expect more of this kind of marketing in new markets.
To help this growth in New York, the company is also in the process of opening an office there. I plan to talk to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman later this week to dig deeper.