It’s official. Yelp is raising a huge chunk of change from Elevation Partners. According to a release, Elevation will invest as much as $100 million in the startup. For now, Yelp will be raising a $25 million in a Series E round from the firm. We broke the news last week here, when talk of the round was in the $50 million range. The initial infusion is half that, but Elevation could end up investing much more over time.
Elevation co-founder Marc Bodnick will be joining Yelp’s Board of Directors. We originally hear that Bono, an Elevation Partners partner, was to be the board representative for Yelp but it looks like Bodnick got the seat in the end.
The investment comes on the heels of dissolved buyout deal with Google. Yelp walked away from an all but signed deal to buy the startup for $550 million.
The investment includes both a primary investment component as well as a secondary offering for long time employees. These deals are now being referred to as “DST deals,” since DST first invested in Facebook in May 2009 at a $10 billion valuation and later funded employee buyouts at a $6.5 billion valuation. They did a similar deal with Zynga.
The release also revealed that traffic on the site increased to more than 26 million unique visitors in the month of December 2009 and the site now has 9 million reviews.