Online review site Yelp said it would collect information from customers and business owners to add a “Gender Neutral Restrooms” category to its listings. (© Jim Young / Reuters/Reuters)
TECHNOLOGY
Yelp search helps find neutral bathrooms

Online review site Yelp is wading into the national debate over transgender bathroom access with a new feature that will enable consumers to search for businesses offering gender-neutral restrooms.

In a blog post Friday, Yelp said it would collect information from customers and business owners to add a “Gender Neutral Restrooms” category to its listings. Yelp defines such restrooms as locking, single-stall toilet facilities accessible to people of any gender.

“At Yelp we thrive on inclusion and acceptance,” the blog post said. The new feature will be phased in over several weeks.

Rachel Williams, Yelp’s head of diversity, said the initiative marked the first time during her tenure that the company had sought to integrate a social issue into its website and app.

“The hope is that this feature gets business owners thinking about how they’re presenting themselves — who they’re supporting and why,” Williams said. “Maybe it will start some conversations.”

She said the idea for the feature came from employees in Yelp’s products section who were “incensed” by efforts in some parts of the United States to curtail transgender people’s civil rights.

— Associated Press

MARKETS
$24 million earned by school from Snap IPO

A private Catholic high school in Silicon Valley that made $24 million from an initial public offering of shares in Snap will use the windfall for financial aid, professional development, teacher training and school programs, the school’s president said Friday.

The board of St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif., agreed to invest $15,000 in seed money in Snap in 2012 based on a recommendation of a venture capitalist who is also a parent of a student.

That’s when the company was just getting started. Snap is the company behind the Snapchat photo and video messaging application.

The school held onto the investment until this week, when Snap shares sold for $17 each in an IPO. St. Francis sold 1.4 million shares at that price, generating a gain of about $24 million.

The stock had soared to $27 a share by Friday’s closing bell.

— Associated Press

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