TripAdvisor Post-IPO: Five Things We Learned From CEO Stephen Kaufer

Merry Christmas, Boston. You asked for it, and you got it. A big, publicly traded consumer tech company to put us on the map alongside the Silicon Valley bad boys and uppity New Yorkers. I present to you: TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP).

Sure, we already have Zipcar (NASDAQ: ZIP), Carbonite (NASDAQ: CARB), iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT), and privately held but well-established companies like Wayfair, Kayak, and Harmonix. But TripAdvisor is different. Although the online travel firm is not new—it’s been cranking here in Boston for more than a decade—it has become one of the biggest consumer-focused Internet companies on the East Coast, with more than 1,100 employees; 50 million-plus unique visitors a month checking out hotel, restaurant, and travel reviews; and, oh yeah, a market cap north of $3 billion. Yet it hasn’t received as much media coverage or tech-community-adulation as you might expect over the years. (An exception to the former would be this in-depth story by my colleague Wade Roush; the latter would be this commentary from investor Chris Dixon.)

I spoke with TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer on Wednesday, the day his company officially became independent from Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) and started trading on the Nasdaq under its own stock symbol. Here are my takeaways from our chat:

1. TripAdvisor wants the spotlight now. “We have generally been very, very surprised at how little attention the press have paid to TripAdvisor,” Kaufer said. He pointed to his company’s size, number of employees, traffic, revenues, and profits, calling it “the $3 billion company in our own backyard.” On the local training and ecosystem front, he says college interns are turning down offers from Facebook and Google and working at TripAdvisor instead.

2. TripAdvisor is global. Seventy-five percent of the traffic to the company’s branded websites comes from outside the U.S. Think about that for a minute. “We’re almost unchallenged in most countries in the … Next Page »

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