Consumer review website Yelp Inc's shares traded more than 60 percent above their initial public offering price in their market debut on Friday, as investors rushed to buy a piece of the growing local advertising market.
Yelp's stellar debut follows those of other Internet sensations like LinkedIn Corp, Groupon Inc and Zillow Inc. But while those stocks made large first-day gains, they have since declined.
Groupon stock soared as much as 56 percent on its opening day, but has since fallen below the offer price of $20 a share.
Yelp's shares were trading up 62 percent at $24.60 on Friday morning. At that level, the company is valued at about $1.43 billion -- about 17 times its 2011 revenue.
On Thursday, Yelp had priced its IPO at $15 a share, above its indicated range of between $12 and $14.
Yelp's website has more than 25 million reviews of a range of local businesses and services -- from plumbers and shoe-repair shops to restaurants and nightlife options.
The San-Francisco-based company was started eight years ago in 2004 by former PayPal engineers Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, when Stoppelman was in search of a doctor and online searches turned up only generic lists on health insurance websites.
Stoppelman told CNBC he wanted his company to become the Amazon.com Inc of local advertising.
We're just scratching the surface of local advertising, Stoppelman said. ... It's an enormous market.
The company, however, faces stiff competition from Facebook; Google Inc through its recent buy of restaurant reviewer Zagat; and others like Groupon and Angie's List Inc.
Stoppelman said he was not fazed by competition from the likes of Google.
Yelp had 66 million unique visitors and was used in 5.7 million unique mobile devices on a monthly average basis in its latest quarter. It was active in 46 markets in the United States and 25 internationally at the end of last year.
(Additional reporting by Nicola Leske in New York; Editing by Supriya Kurane and Lisa Von Ahn)