Two former PayPal employees, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons founded Yelp at a business incubator, MRL Ventures, in 2004.
Stoppelman and Simmons conceived the initial idea for Yelp as an email-based referral network, after Stoppelman caught the flu and had a difficult time finding an online recommendation for a local doctor.
Max Levchin, the co-founders' former colleague as founding chief technology officer of PayPal and founder of MRL Ventures, provided $1M in Angel financing.
MRL co-founder David Galbraith, who instigated the local services project based on user reviews, came up with the name "Yelp". Stoppelman explained that they decided on "Yelp" for the company's name because "it was short, memorable, easy to spell, and was familiar with the help and yellow pages.