Yelp hits big on first trading day

Making a good first impression.

Shares of Yelp were soaring on their first day of public trading, following the strong first day performances of LinkedIn (LNKD), Groupon (GRPN) and Zillow (Z). The IPO was originally priced at $15 per share, topping its indicated range of $12 to $14. At Friday’s prices, the company’s market cap is roughly $1.4 billion.

Yelp is a local advertising site where users can provide reviews and post photos of businesses. Currently it has more than 25 million reviews covering a variety of industries. It was founded eight years ago by two PayPal engineers when one of the inventors, Jeremy Stoppelman, was searching for a doctor and could only find generic listings.

He recently told CNBC that he wants Yelp to be the Amazon (AMZN) of local advertising and said that, “We’re just scratching the surface of local advertising…it’s an enormous market.”

That said the company faces competition from Google (GOOG)  and Facebook, as well as  Angie’s List (ANGI), although Stoppelman believes Yelp is well positioned to tackle its larger competitors. Yelp is the latest tech name to make a big splash on its first day of trading, although several of 2011’s top tech IPOs struggled in the weeks following their launch.

Yelp (YELP : NYSE : US$24.58), Net Change: 9.58, % Change: 63.87%, Volume: 17,446,415

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Canaccord Genuity Inc. is a global investment banking and institutional brokerage firm. Their website is

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