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Yelp’s stock surges 27% amid signs of a sharper focus

Yelp’s 5 years as a public company have not always been fun. Founded almost 13 years ago, the social review site hit a low point in May 2015 with rumors that it was seeking a buyer as growth sputtered.

Despite being a Web 2.0 pioneer, it has only occasionally managed to post quarterly profits. It’s seen its stock fall sharply from its most optimistic moments, when it hit $97.25 per share in 2014. In February 2016, it fell as low as $15.56 per share.

But just as it seemed time to start preparing the obituaries and post-mortems, Yelp has returned from the near-dead.

Yesterday, the company released its second quarter earnings showing that revenue grew 20 percent in the quarter from the same period a year ago. And it posted profits of $7.6 million.

Investors were thrilled. Yelp’s stock exploded 27.64 percent to close at $40.04 per share.

There were several developments from Yelp that drove this giddiness. But in general, the company seems to have pulled off a remarkable trick: It’s growing by shrinking.

Over the past year, a company that has sometimes had a history of messy operational issues has developed a newfound sense of discipline and decisiveness. The biggest move it made was deciding to exit most of its international business.

Outside of the U.S. and Canada, Yelp was only making 1 percent of its revenue from international markets by the end of 2016. So the company made a tough call: Exit the international businesses and cut 175 employees.

In narrowing its focus, the company invested in expanding the company’s U.S. sales force, which paid off with big growth in signing up new companies and holding on to those who were already customers. In addition, Yelp said yesterday that it is opening a new office in Washington, D.C.

The company also took steps to address declining traffic to its mobile apps. And as part of the parade of good news yesterday, the company said it was selling its Eat24 delivery business to Grubhub.

Narrowing its ambitions, pulling the plug on being a global company for now, might have seemed like a desperate retreat last year. Instead, it’s resulted in faster growth in its core market.

Yelp’s challenge now is to continue to expand on that momentum. As executives noted in a conference call yesterday, restaurants are still the largest portion of its revenues. It’s trying to leverage that with new services, but also by trying to convince users who come for restaurant reviews to explore other categories.

That will still be a challenge. But this new Yelp has regained a lot of credibility with investors who are ready to believe again.

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Ms. A. C. Kennedy
My name is Ms A C Kennedy and I am a Health practitioner and Consultant by day and a serial blogger by night. I luv family, life and learning new things. I especially luv learning how to improve my business. I also luv helping and sharing my information with others. Don't forget to ask me anything!

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick