For years, many years even, startup names have been getting weirder. This isn’t a scientific verdict, however it’s how issues have appeared to somebody who spends a whole lot of hours perusing these things.
Startups have had a future of branding themselves with inventive misspellings, animal names. human first names, made-up phrases, adverbs and different odd collections of letters. It’s gone on so lengthy it now appears regular. Names like Google, Airbnb and Hulu, which sounded unusual at first, at the moment are a part of our on a regular basis vocabulary.
Over the previous few quarters, nonetheless, a peculiar factor has been occurring: Startup founders are selecting extra conventional-sounding names.
“As we attain the sting of strangeness… they’re saying: ‘It’s too bizarre. I’m uncomfortable,’” mentioned Athol Foden, president of Brighter Naming, a naming consultancy. Whereas quirky startup monikers haven’t gone away, founders are more and more comfy with less-unusual-sounding selections.
Foden’s observations are mirrored in our annual Crunchbase Information survey of startup naming tendencies. We’re seeing a proliferation of startups selecting easy phrases that describe their companies, together with firms like Hitch, an app for long-distance automobile rides; Duffel, a trip-booking startup named after the favored journey bag; and Coder, a software program improvement platform.
However thankfully for followers of offbeat names, the pattern is simply towards much less weirdness, not no weirdness. Those that want to patronage seed-stage startups can nonetheless purchase tampons from Aunt Flow, get parenting suggestions from an app referred to as Mush or get insurance coverage from a startup referred to as Marshmallow.
Under, we glance in additional element at among the extra well-liked startup naming practices and the way they’re trending.
For a very long time, it appeared like an enormous variety of startups chosen names largely by disabling the spell checker.
Most fascinating dictionary phrases have been already in use as domains or too dear to amass. So founders took to dropping vowels, subbing a “y” for an “i” or including an additional consonant to make it work. The technique labored effectively for lots of well-known firms, together with Lyft, Tumblr, Digg, Flickr, Grindr and Scribd.
Lately, inventive misspellings are nonetheless fairly frequent amongst early-stage founders. Our identify survey unearthed a giant quantity (see partial list) that lately raised funding, together with Houwser, an upstart actual property brokerage; Swytch, developer of a package for changing bikes to e-bikes; and Wurk, a supplier of human assets and compliance software program for the hashish trade.
Nevertheless, inventive misspellings are getting much less well-liked, Foden mentioned. Early-stage founders are turned off by the prospect of getting to spell out their names to folks unfamiliar with the model (which for seed-stage firms contains just about everybody).
One of many extra enjoyable naming kinds is the pun. In our perusal of firms that raised seed funding prior to now yr, we got here throughout quite a lot of startups using some type of play-on phrases.
We put collectively an inventory of seven of the punniest names here. Along with Aunt Circulate, the record contains WeeCare, a community of daycare suppliers, and Serial Box, a digital content material producer. Crunchbase Information additionally created its personal fictional startup — drone rooster supply startup Web of Wings — in an explainer series on startup funding.
Maybe some day enterprise naming will harken again to the economic age, when company titans had exceedingly boring and apparent names.
Actual firms with pun names which have matured to exit have been tougher to pinpoint. A pair which have gone public are Groupon and MedMen, a hashish firm that went public in Canada and is valued round CA$2 billion.
For some cause, it seems pun names are extra well-liked within the brick-and-mortar world than the tech startup sphere. Eating places specializing within the Vietnamese noodle soup Pho have dozens of play-on-word names memorialized in lists like this. Ditto for pet stores.
Personally, I’d wish to see extra web startups rolling out pun-based names. Foden would, too, and he has even volunteered one suggestion for somebody who needs to start out a enterprise making use of synthetic intelligence to synthetic insemination: Ai.ai.
Made-up phrases that sound actual
There are greater than 170,000 non-obsolete phrases within the English language, per the Oxford English Dictionary. Startups, nonetheless, are satisfied we want extra.
Therefore, one of many extra enduringly well-liked business-naming practices is to give you one thing that seems like an precise phrase, even when it isn’t.
We put collectively a list of examples of this naming model amongst lately seed-funded startups.
It contains Trustology, which is constructing a platform to safeguard crypto belongings; Invocable, a developer of voice design instruments for Alexa apps; and Locomation, which focuses on autonomous trucking expertise.
Naming advisors wish to see the made-up phrase identify pattern on the rise, Foden mentioned, as a result of it’s the sort of factor firms pay a guide to determine. One other benefit is it’s simpler to prime search outcomes for a made-up phrase.
Lastly, let’s take a look at these insurgent startups selecting acquainted dictionary phrases for his or her names.
We put collectively an inventory of some here. Apart from the aforementioned Duffel, Hitch and Coder, there’s Decent, a healthcare startup; Chief, a girls’s networking group; Journal, a be aware organizing device; and plenty of extra.
Startups are much less involved than they was once with snagging a dot-com area that incorporates simply their identify. Generally, they’ll add a prefix to their area (joinchief.com, usejournal.com), select an alternate area (Hitch.internet) or each.
Total, Foden mentioned, startups at this time are placing much less emphasis on securing a dot-com suffix or a precise area identify match. Google mother or father Alphabet, specifically, made the alternate area thought extra palatable. It helped to see one of many world’s richest firms forego Alphabet.com in favor of abc.xyz.
The place is all of it going?
They are saying historical past repeats itself. If that’s the case, maybe some day enterprise naming will harken again to the economic age, when company titans had exceedingly boring and apparent names like Customary Oil, U.S. Metal and Common Electrical.
For now, nonetheless, we stay in period by which essentially the most precious firms have names like Google and Fb. And to us, they sound completely regular.
Methodology: For the naming knowledge set, we appeared primarily at firms in English-speaking international locations that raised seed funding after 2018. To broaden the potential record of names, we additionally included some firms funded in 2017. We additionally tried to restrict the lists, the place attainable to firms based prior to now three years, though there have been occasional exceptions.