Yelp, the review site for local businesses, is joining the rush of big-name Web start-ups that want to go public.
The company said Thursday that it had hired a chief financial officer with public company experience, Rob Krolik, typically one of the first steps on the road to an initial public offering. Formerly the C.F.O. of Move.com, Mr. Krolik helped take Shopping.com public and led its sale to eBay, where he became vice president of global finance operations.
Yelp, which has raised $131 million in venture capital, would join LinkedIn, Pandora, Facebook, Zynga and Groupon in testing the public markets after a long drought in I.P.O.’s. Many of these companies raised large amounts of money last year to hold out as private companies.
A year and a half ago, Yelp raised $100 million from Elevation Partners in a bid to avoid going public. The company spent $75 million of that buying back shares from employees and early investors so they had some liquidity while Yelp stayed private.
At the time of the investment, Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s chief executive, said he preferred to avoid the costs and burdens of going public. But as the public markets have warmly welcomed other Web start-ups, he has changed his tune, indicating that Yelp is laying the groundwork for a stock offering.
“As Yelpâs C.F.O., Rob will oversee corporate finance, accounting, investor relations and real estate functions,” Mr. Stoppelman wrote in a blog post. “Weâre excited to bring this Silicon Valley veteran into the fold, for what will no doubt be a very exciting ride.”