Yelp Searching for New CFO in Run-Up to IPO

Yelp is on the hunt for a new head of finance as it prepares to take the company public.

The company has not yet hired bankers or determined a timeline for a potential IPO, but some of the groundwork is starting to be laid, said Vince Sollitto, the company’s VP of corporate communications.

Sollitto said Yelp’s current CFO, Vlado Herman, who has a young family and a long commute to the company’s San Francisco headquarters, suggested the change. He will stay on board until a replacement is found.

Herman’s departure will give the company the opportunity to hire someone with expertise in the public markets.

In a fairly public move, Yelp walked away from about a half a billion dollar offer from Google in 2009.

The company’s revenues are widely considered to be around $50 million last year, and are projected to double this year.

Sollitto declined to confirm the numbers, but said the company’s growth accelerated in the first quarter of 2011, and the the local reviews site is now attracting 50 million unique visitors a month and counts 17 million reviews.

Yelp is now available in eight countries, and relies primarily on local search advertising. Increasingly, as its audience grows, it is also seeing opportunities in display advertising, and it was able to enter the daily deals space easily by leveraging its sales staff of 350.

Today, it is offering daily deals in 10 U.S. markets.

In that space, Groupon is the most prominent player currently considering an IPO. Groupon is on track to pick Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as its two lead underwriters, reports the WSJ. The IPO is expected to value the Chicago company between $15 billion and $20 billion, according to people familiar with the deal.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work