In February 2010, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and chairman Max Levchin each pocketed $15 million each in a private sale of stock to Elevation Partners, which previously had bought $25 million worth of shares from the company in Yelp’s series E financing. The private purchases was part of another $36.8 million Elevation paid individual shareholders, including Stoppelman and Levchin.
It is increasingly common for growth investors like Elevation or DST to provide founders and early shareholders with some liquidity before an IPO. Now that Yelp has filed to go public, these details are coming out in its S-1. Stoppelman and Levchin are still the two largest individual shareholders in Yelp. Stoppelman owns 11.1 percent of the company, while Levchin actually owns a little bit more, with 13.8 percent. Depending on what Yelp’s valuation will be at its IPO, those stakes could be worth more than $100 million each (assuming a $1 billion market cap).
At the time of the Elevation transaction, Stoppelman sold 7.4 million shares, which would have been nearly a quarter of his shares at the time, based on the information available in the S-1. Meanwhile, Elevation became Yelp’s second largest shareholder, with almost the same number of shares as Bessemer (22.4 perecent versus 22.5 percent). Benchmark is No.3 with 16.2 percent.
The biggest shareholders are listed in the table below: