folder Filed in Branding tips, Naming tips
13 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Brand Name
By SmartBranding Team access_time 9 min read

As you already know, in order to help you find the perfect name for your business (and of course, the matching .com domain name), we have started our series of interviews called Names with stories” where we talk with startup founders, co-founders, and CEOs about their sleepless nights and the time when they were brainstorming the perfect name for their business. Not only did they build great brands on those names, but they were also kind enough to share with us the stories behind them. In this blog, we’ve compiled a summary of their answers for those looking for the perfect name for their brand. So let’s start.

“From the beginning, I wanted a name that was unique, meaningful, and would help us build the right brand image in our customers’ minds. I was only considering options that were up to 8 letters — but the shorter the better. For example, sailing.com is short and memorable however it is too general and encompasses much more than boat rentals to be relevant for our brand proposition. I also wanted to stay away from word combinations like “sailtime” or “onlineboat” as I felt that a one-word brand is more powerful. From playing around with sailing and sailor, “Sailo” was the winner as a friendly and memorable brand name.” — Adrian Gradinaru, Founder and CEO of Sailo – Read the Story behind Sailo.com

“Turing’s name works on several levels. First, the Turing Award is the Nobel Prize for computer engineers. Since one of our goals is to create opportunities for highly-skilled engineers so they can change the world, the name is a perfect fit. Second, the “Turing Test” is the name of a test for artificial intelligence such that if the AI is sufficiently advanced, that means we cannot tell the difference between that AI and a human. Classical outsourcing companies throw people at this problem. But Turing uses the process and AI. Third, Alan Turing, the father of computer science and AI, has a quote: “Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of, that can do the things no one can imagine.” Turing is a foundational layer to the entire tech industry, so we felt it was a good brand. The name is also a nod to excellence in engineering that everyone that knows tech recognizes.” — Jonathan Siddharth, CEO, and Co-founder of Turing – Read the story behind Turing.com

“ I was already using the Vivaldi name for my investment company at the time and we were looking for a name for the new company. It is not easy to find a name and my son asked me why I was not considering using the Vivaldi name. It was a good question and thus we ended up using Vivaldi. We did consider other names, but Vivaldi was just a lot better than any other names we were considering.” — Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, co-founder and CEO of Vivaldi – Read the story behind Vivaldi.com

“My co-founder Ravi and I came up with the name Catalytic. We wanted a solid, trend-proof company name that stood out in a sea of odd-sounding portmanteaus and awkward made up adverbs. I like names with a story that ties into the purpose of the company. I originally formed an LLC called Catalytic Labs because it tied into a vision of a technology startup researching how to help companies with massive, sustainable acceleration to business processes and operations. Plus, truth be told, I was able to grab catalyticlabs.com. I then pitched the name to my co-founder, who loved it. Once we set up Catalytic Labs, LLC, we thought it was worth going after catalytic.com even as a long shot given that it was already taken. We used a domain broker to help reach out to the domain owner, who initially asked for much more than we were willing to pay. So, we countered with a reasonable but much lower offer. Many days went by and we thought it was game over. We told them we were not going to continue discussions, and that’s when they came back very close to our offer, and we jumped on it.” — Sean Chou, CEO, and co-founder of Catalytic – Read the story behind Catalytic.com

“ Essentially, the name comes from the fact that users on Neighbor.com store their items with their neighbors. We’ve always wanted to place the focus on the people that make up our community rather than the services. People naturally trust their neighbors; they strive to be good neighbors to each other. We want to encourage our users to create that kind of community.” — Joseph Woodbury, CEO and founder at Neighbor – Read the story behind Neighbor.com

“Mamava combines the words mama and va — which relates to goor goes in Spanish. Our company is dedicated to supporting breastfeeding mamas on the go.” — Sascha Mayer and Christine Dodson from Mamava – Read the story behind Mamava.com

“My partner Bill and I wanted a brand name that highlighted what we stood for — creating happiness for dogs and their parents — and one that provided us with a broad umbrella with which to grow and expand the business. In the early days, we spend a lot of time exploring potential names. We always came back to the concept of “joy”… it just fit our fabric.” — Dustin McAdams, Founder and CEO of PupJoy – Read the story behind PupJoy.com

“I wanted a brand that is easy to remember and simple to replicate via word of mouth — a mind meme von neumann self-replicating marketing factory for the idea of what we were trying to achieve. I also wanted to imbed the incompleteness ideas of the mathematician Gödel into the brand as well. The actual registered Inc name is ‘Golden Recursion Inc’ — the concept behind this is that the company will produce useful tools and products by going around an iteration loop, over and over again.” —Jude Gomila, Founder and CEO of Golden – Read the story behind Golden.com

“Freelance professionals are our key demographic, so we looked into the history of the word “freelance.” Though the term “free lances” first showed up in Ivanhoe, it refers to a real phenomenon of unaffiliated medieval soldiers. From there we got to “Joust.” And, well, the URL for “HiredGun,” was already taken. (just kidding). In addition to the lance concept, the shield worked well for us because PayArmour, our anchor product, serves to protect freelancers.” — Lamine Zarrad, CEO of Joust – Read the story behind the Joust.com

“That depends on the language you’re using to translate! It can mean face as in the face of your company or Ark, as in the vessel from Noah’s Ark used to ensure the survival of life from the flood. The main definition is Latin for “a chest or strong box used in ancient times as a receptacle for money or valuables”. Sounds just like what we provide!” — Phillip Akhzar — Founder & CEO at Arka.com – Read the story behind the Arka.com

 I wanted a name that expressed the idea of tracking illness like the weather, but I also didn’t want a name with the words “health” or “map” in it as those were heavily used in the industry, so I wanted something that stood out from the white noise of the marketplace. SickWeather was one of the options I came up with, and when I realized the TLDs were all available for it, then that was the final deciding factor — that I could acquire all the domains inexpensively.” — Graham Dodge, Co-founder and CEO of SickWeather – Read the story behind the SickWeather.com

“I’m a big believer that your company’s purpose should be associated with a larger human value. So when we first started talking about this idea, we kept coming back to the idea of fairness. It’s something all of us understand fundamentally from a very young age. There was never really any other name we seriously considered because nothing else could adequately convey all the layers of unfairness we were looking to address. I’ve been lucky to have founded several companies that addressed important improvements in automotive — from CarsDirect to TrueCar — but none of them were able to fully address the overall unfairness that the current model presents. So we wanted a name that reflects what we truly stand for in the world.” — Scott Painter, CEO of Fair – Read the story behind the Fair.com

“We considered a lot of not very good names, but finally landed on Packet for a few reasons: it’s easy to spell, easy to remember, and it is tied to the one thing you have to buy from a cloud provider (network services). In networking, data is transmitted in small packages called “packets”.” — Jacob Smith, Co-founder, and CMO at Packet – Read the story behind the Packet.com


We hope this will be of use to you in the process of getting your perfect business name. If you have any questions, need any help with acquiring your EBM (exact brand match) domain name, or just want to chat with someone about the process, book a free consultation at MarkUpgrade. We are always happy to hear from you.

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