Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

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With Angie’s List IPO Complete, Yelp Files as Flow of Tech Companies Continues

Review sites Yelp and Angie's List are both going public.The initial public offerings for technology companies continue to flow as more high-profile websites with uncertain business look to go public.

Bloomberg reports that the consumer review website Angie's List conducted its IPO on Thursday, November 17. Setting an initial stock price of $13 per share, Angie's List is valuing itself at more than $900 million.

Selling 8.8 million shares, the company was able to raise more than $114 million and saw a quick climb in early trading as with most other technology IPOs, rising more than 33 percent and ultimately closing up 25 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal. If the company follows the recent pattern for similar companies the price is likely to drop substantially in coming days.

Time notes that Angie's List is a somewhat surprising company for an IPO, as it provides a subscription review service for local professionals and businesses that is in stark contrast with the industry standard of free content supported by advertising. However, the vast majority of the company's paying customers resubscribe after their first year and chances only increase with time, giving some hope that this uncharacteristically traditional business model might work.

However, another more typical technology company has decided to jump into the market as well, with CNET reporting that the local reviews site Yelp, one of the biggest in the field, has filed for an IPO which it hopes could raise as much as $100 million. Fortune reports that the company expects to value itself higher than Angie's List, somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion, though the specific price is unclear as yet.

Yelp has gotten by so far on $56 million in venture funding, but the company turned down a buyout offer from Google for $500 million and has been intent on conducting a successful IPO since then. However, like many of the technology IPOs that have so worried investors earlier in the year, Yelp remains unprofitable. Though it nearly doubled its revenue in the first three quarters from the year before, the company still lost $7.6 million, following the loss of $8.6 million in the first three quarters of 2010.

Reuters notes that online-gaming giant Zynga has also been planning for an IPO in the coming months, as many technology companies seize on the perceived opportunity created by the Groupon IPO.

"When underwriters see a window like this, whether really open or not, they just stuff the IPO channel," Scott Sweet of research firm IPO Boutique told Reuters.

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