Local business data provider Locu is announcing a partnership with Yelp today, in order to help update Yelp’s menus and other listings data with Locu’s real-time information directly from businesses. This will allow restaurants on Locu to distribute their menus and daily specials to Yelp, but it will also help Locu further expand into other verticals beyond restaurants alone.
The move comes on the heels of Locu’s partnership earlier this spring with WordPress maker Automattic, which allowed restaurants to more easily add their Locu-powered menus to their WordPress blogs. The company has also been busy rolling in support for other third parties, including OpenTable, TripAdvisor and CitySearch.
The startup, backed by $4 million in Series A funding, extracts data from business websites then makes it available in a structured format, including via its API. Business owners who claim their pre-populated Locu profile, or who sign up for the service on their own, will have access to edit the data as need be, then push it out to their own website, mobile site, Facebook page, WordPress blog, and other local directories, like, as of now, Yelp.
The benefit to using Locu over traditional local business listing providers, explains co-founder and CEO Rene Reinsberg, is the speed with which Locu can serve updates. “If you look at the historical providers, typically how they work is once a week, once a month, and in some cases once a day – but that’s really the exception – the provider would get a feed and updates,” he says. “The concept here [with Locu] is to have a real-time functionality.”
“That’s where we need to be headed anyway,” adds Reinsberg, “because today a lot of searches are happening on mobile phones so they’re immediate – you’re looking for something right now.”
For restaurants, which are still the majority of Locu’s user base, the Yelp integration means they’ll be able to have their current menu, including daily specials, seen by Yelp users on both web and mobile. Their menus will appear on profile pages for businesses with Yelp’s data layered on top, including photos. Here’s an example.
Locu now has over 15,000 merchants on its platform. The company offers a freemium service, where paid users have a set of additional premium options, templates, and support for $25 per month. This includes the ability to trial Locu Takeout, an online ordering option for restaurants, as well as publish photos to Facebook, OpenTable, and now, Yelp, too.
When Locu launched its business platform last October, the company said that around 80 percent of its business data was from restaurants, as those had been its initial focus when data gathering. Today, the split between restaurants and other businesses hasn’t changed much.
So, for the company, this partnership also opens up their service to more potential customers outside the restaurant vertical – Yelp offers access to some 50 million businesses, making it Locu’s largest partner to date. “It’s a big step for us, as we have the ambition to grow in other verticals,” Reinsberg says. “It’s a very important deal.”