Nobody picks a name for their brand with the idea to change it. But businesses change – sometimes they expand over borders and offering beyond their founders wildest dreams, sometimes there are legal issues, sometimes the market demands it, sometimes the original name was a compromise to begin with.
Let’s look at some notable rebrands of the past decade.
The only constant in life is change.
EventBoard.com – Teem.com
As many startups, EventBoard started as its founders were trying to solve a problem they had themselves – they were struggling with sharing conference rooms. After raising $13.5 Million, in October 2016, the founders decided to change their name from EventBoard to Teem to reflect their expanded focus on optimizing the digital workplace.
EventBoard was developing software for conference room displays. Teem offered a lot more – meeting tools and workplace analytics. The negotiation for the sale of Teem.com went on for months and in October 2016, it was revealed that the company has acquired the exact brand match domain name Teem.com in a deal with a cash and an equity component.
Teem was acquired by WeWork in September 2018 for $100 million, according to Crunchbase, then sold again to iOffice in 2020.
Picaboo (app) – Snapchat.com
The first version of Snapchat was launched under the name Picaboo as an app on the appstore. The name Snapchat is derived from the intention of sending short snaps that disappear.
In September 2016, Snapchat rebranded to Snap Inc to reflect its new direction as a “camera company”. The company acquired the simple and short domain name snap.com.
DaPulse.com – Monday.com
Dapulse, a project management startup, changed its name to Monday because no one could figure out what its name meant (at one point a TV anchor actually started laughing at the name while interviewing a Dapulse employee on air).
The startup acquired the exact brand match domain Monday.com. And in case you’re wondering, the original name was chosen because there was a domain name available to register.
In 2018 Monday raised $50 million in a series C round of funding led by Stripes Group, with participation from Insight Venture Partners and Entrée Capital.
DataSafe.com – Destruction.com
For nearly three decades, the shredding/document destruction firm Datasafe, Inc. was known by the name Datasafe Information Security. In September 2019, the company rebranded with its killer domain name Destruction.com to better describe its services and communicate a leading position in the industry.
Most people like to know right away, “Who are you and what do you do?” This rebrand accomplishes that.
Rick Carey, the Founder of Destruction
MyTeksi.com – GrabTaxi.com – Grab.com
MyTeksi, the taxi-hailing app launched in 2012 rebranded in January 29, 2016 and is now simply known as Grab. Grab has unified their services GrabTaxi, private car services GrabCar, motorcycle taxis GrabBike, social carpooling GrabHitch and last mile delivery GrabExpress into one platform.
The startup upgraded from GrabTaxi.com to the exact brand match domain name Grab.com. Prior to the upgrade, they were also using the domain Grab.co. Grab.com was used by a gaming company which is now found on GrabGames.com.
We’ve grown over the years — and we’re now much more than a taxi app. This new brand is an important evolution that represents our goal to outserve our customers.
Anthony Tan, CEO and co-founder, Grab
Palo Alto Delivery – DoorDash.com
DoorDash Inc. is a San Francisco-based on-demand prepared food delivery service founded in 2013 by Stanford students Tony Xu, Stanley Tang, Andy Fang, and Evan Moore. It first launched as Palo Alto Delivery in January 2013, and officially changed its name to DoorDash in June 2013, on the matching DoorDash.Com domain.
When we first started, we were trying to solve our own problem of getting food delivered. But soon, it grew quickly within the Stanford community and beyond.
In 2019 DoorDash was involved in a legal battle over a business that had registered the DoorDash.com.au domain. The case was settled in private and the domain now forwards to their main website.
EsharesInc.com – Carta.com
The startup started with the domain name eSharesInc.com. By 2017 the company was a well-known leader in its field and raised $67 Million. They tried and didn’t manage to get their exact brand match eshares.com. That lead to the decision to go for a complete rebrand and avoid future confusion and security risks.
We are changing our name because we do not own « eshares.com ». A complete rebrand is required to avoid confusion and security risks in the future. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because our mission has grown into something larger than cap table management.
CEO Henry Ward in a message to clients
The company rebranded to Carta in 2017 and on top of being short and memorable, their new name is more open to expansion, given they now offer a lot more than electronic issuance of shares.
Mainstream Motors – Avera Automotive – Rivian.com
Founded in 2009 as Mainstream Motors, Rivian didn’t start out as the same truck focused company we know. The name change from Mainstream Motors to Avera Automotive follows a federal lawsuit filed in Florida Middle District Court by South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor Co.
In November 2010, Hyundai claimed the name “Avera” — an amalgamation of the words “America, ” “verde” (the Spanish word for green) and “terra” — sounded too similar to one its popular sedans, the Azera. The suit demanded that the Rockledge company stop using Avera and sought unspecified monetary damages. The company finally settled on Rivian and acquired the exact brand match domain name Rivian.com.
We selected a powerful, timeless name that illustrates who we are as a company, how we blend with the natural environment and what we seek to do within the industry.
CEO R.J. Scaringe
Envisionit e-pay – Truzo.com
In preparation for its global expansion, South African online escrow payments startup Envisionit e-Pay rebranded to Truzo in October 2019. The name is derived from the words TRUST ZONE and the startup secured the exact brand match domain name Truzo.com.
In a fast-changing payments industry the company needed to further differentiate its service offering to ensure a more efficient multi-currency platform and enhance its brand positioning to better reflect its global ambitions.
Founder and Managing Director, Terence Naidu
Verifly.com – Thimble.com
Founded in 2016 with the mission to offer insurance to drone pilots, Verifly’s rebrand into Thimble came as the company responded to customer demand for more insurance options. The company later expanded its product range and announced its new name – Thimble. Smartly, the startup secured the exact brand match domain name Thimble.com from the start to enhance wider possibilities for expansion and growth.
It became clear that we were becoming much bigger, the opportunity was much bigger and we needed a name that basically reflected how big this could be—how iconic—not just for one type of business but every type of small business.
Founder and CEO Jay Bregman explained to Carrier Management
Foodibay.com – Zomato.com
Foodiebay.com, a website that posted hundreds of restaurant menus, reviews of eating joints and recommendations, rebranded to Zomato.com in the wake of the company moving beyond the food category. If you are wondering what the name Zomato means, it’s just a word that rhymes with tomato! They also considered the name Forkwise.
“Zomato.com, the domain name was $10,000. And Forkwise.com was $10… So, I mean, that was a big deal for us like, how do we spend $10,000 out of the million dollars that we just raised!” As a result, Goyal and his team were leaning toward choosing Forkwise – but that’s when Raghuvanshi intervened and made his voice heard. “He was quite pissed at us for dropping Zomato.com, which is such a cool domain name, and wanting to buy Forkwise.com, ” Goyal remembers. “He actually offered to buy it for us personally! And then, I was like, if you have that much confidence on this to buy it personally, we will buy it ourselves, so, don’t worry about it. And that’s how we bought Zomato.com.”
We saw that if we wanted to touch broader horizons then the name “Foodiebay” wasn’t going to be the best option since it might restrict our perception as just a food website. And right now was the time to reflect deeply and think about what we should be christened as especially since we are going to invest heavily in marketing the brand.
The first was that we felt doorbot was a bit too “techie” for the home as we became more of a mainstream product/brand and we also wanted a name that would grow with us and fit the mission.
Jamie Siminoff, the founder of Ring
The company secured the exact brand match domain name Ring.com.
Founder Jamie Siminoff paid $1 million for the domain “If you want to be a player in the market,” he said, “you have to look like one.”
When we talk to a partner and give them an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, they always say « wow ».
Jamie Siminoff, Founder of Ring
Ploom.com – PaxLabs.com – Juul.com
The company was founded by James Monsees and Adam Bowen in 2007 under the name Ploom. Japan Tobacco International acquired Ploom’s ModelTwo, including the intellectual property associated with the device and its pods. As part of the transaction, Bowen and Monsees bought back JTI’s stake in their company, and renamed it to Pax Labs.
In 2015 Juul e-cigarettes launched as a product and it spun into a separate company in 2017. Juul Labs acquired the exact brand match domain Juul.com, after running on JuulLabs.com / JuulVapor.com before the upgrade.
Matchbox app – Tinder.com
Tinder launched in 2012 in the startup incubator Hatch Labs. The business was initially named Matchbox before introducing a catchier name which instantly became a hit. Hatch Labs, who already owned the popular dating site Match.com, rebranded the app as Tinder – a play on the original Matchbox name.
We still liked that sort of fire theme, so actually we looked through a dictionary, a thesaurus, something like that, looking for fire-related words. Eventually settling on Tinder, which Merriam Webster defines as, “dry material (such as wood or grass) that burns easily and can be used to start a fire…
Jonathan Badeen, Co-founder
Worst case, “people will either get it, and they’ll say, ‘Oh — tinder: fire, ’ or they don’t get it and they think it’s some clever misspelling of the word ‘tender,’”.
Zimride.com – Lyft.com
Zimride, an American rideshare program matching inter-city drivers and passengers through private social networks, launched in 2007. In 2012 they launched the Lyft app, for intra-city rides. Lyft rapidly grew and soon became the main focus of the company.
In May 2013, the company officially changed its name from Zimride to Lyft and shared the Zimride service to Enterprise Holdings. The change from Zimride to Lyft was the result of a hackaton that sought a means of daily engagement with its users, instead of once or twice a year. The startup acquired the exact brand match domain name Lyft.com.
When we first were talking it over, we actually were going to call it Zimride Instant. Luckily we took a second and stepped back and changed the branding.
Logan Green, Co-founder and CEO of Lyft
Hasoffers.com – Tune.com
The first TUNE product was launched in 2009. It was called HasOffers because it was a white label solution that allowed anyone to manage their own offers for affiliates and partners to promote.
HasOffers rebranded to Tune in July 2017. When you visit their homepage you will see their partner marketing platform has both networks and advertisers under one brand, TUNE. The company secured the exact brand match domain name Tune.com.
We chose Tune because it resonates perfectly with what we help marketers do across our products. Maybe even more importantly, we wanted something that would be really fun and creative for our people and our clients.
Tune CEO Peter Hamilton
Hamilton also shared the brand wanted to avoid names that used the words “ad” or “app.”
Ellebox.com – Blume.com
Originally launched in Toronto by sisters Taran and Bunny Ghatrora, Ellebox was selling third party discovery products as a subscription. Soon the business grew and the sisters decided to launch their own brand and better match their audience’s needs. Blume was born and the business re-branded in early 2018.
Our new name is Blume! For growth. And a nod to one of our favorite childhood authors, Judy Blume, who so beautifully captured the struggles and beauties of the transition to adolescence.
Taran Ghatrora, CEO & Co-Founder at Blume
“We used to be called Ellebox, and we didn’t have any of our own products. We sent a bundle, monthly, featuring third-party discovery products, the way Birchbox does. But we decided to vertically integrate and have our own products and focus more on reaching Generation Z. Armando had advised us that all successful companies have a very unique, specific point of view. And that tied in with our commitment to Gen Z and their shopping habits.” – Taran Ghatrora, CEO & Co-Founder at Blume.
They started with the domain name MeetBlume.com and later on acquired the matching Blume.com.
eChromics.com – Soladigm.com – View.com
The company was founded in April 2007 by Paul Nguyen and Mike Scobey as eChromics. It was renamed to Soladigm in October 2007. In November 2012 Soladigm rebranded again View, Inc.
The business was using the domain name ViewGlass.com before upgrading to View.com (owned and operated by a DVD company in New York).
I am proud of the View team for the innovative spirit and dedication they have shown in achieving this important milestone. We are ready to continue to execute on the vision to see wide spread use of dynamic glass in buildings.
Dr. Rao Mulpuri, CEO of View
Mondo.com – Monzo.com
In August 2016, London banking startup Mondo announced that it is changing its name to Monzo after an unnamed company challenged Mondo’s trademark. It agreed with the company in the dispute that a change of name would end the legal challenge, and called on Mondo customers to suggest names beginning with “M.” In 48 hours, the company received 12,560 suggestions for its new name. The name Monzo clearly was the winner.
Of course, it’s not a million miles away from what we already had. It’s like Mondo, but better.
Tom Blomfield, CEO of Monzo
Monzo acquired the domain name Monzo.com upgrading from getmonzo.co.uk. Now it’s one of Europe’s hottest neobank startups.
Hyperware.com – Brave.com
Originally incorporated in Delaware as Hyperware Labs, Inc in 2015, they later changed their name to Brave.
Brave was one of the first names we considered. But we also considered others: Gladiator, Dynamo, Superware. We couldn’t come up with anything else we liked better. We decided to go with it. We did almost use “Zura” though, which is Sanskrit for Brave. We’d have used this name if we couldn’t register the company name or a domain for Brave.
The company wanted Brave.com, but it had been in use for 17 years by a “nuclear polka” band founded in 1979 named Brave Combo. At the time, the Domain name Brave.com was being used and redirected to brave.com/bo. Before contacting them, Brave co-founder acquired the domain name BraveCombo.com and asked if they’d consider selling brave.com in exchange for bravecombo.com and a fair price. After some months of negotiating the parties agreed on an undisclosed sum for the transaction, that was to be paid half up front, and the other half 6 months later.
Elance.com – Elance-oDesk – Upwork.com
The well-known freelancer marketplace actually began with the name Elance in 1999, when the web first enabled us to work beyond our local vicinities. The company was named after a Harvard Business Review article titled The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy. The idea behind both, the company and the article, is that employees were moving toward electronically-driven freelance work, essentially becoming electronically connected freelancers—e-lancers.
Elance and oDesk grew quite successfully as separate entities until 2013 when the two sites drew up a merger on December 18 to create Elance-oDesk. With the launch of Upwork, the oDesk platform was upgraded and rebranded and the company announced that the Elance platform would be phased out within a couple of years, resulting in a single freelance marketplace called Upwork.
The word work can sound like a “downer”. Projects offered on the platform, are different. It’s really awesome work-better work than you could find locally…With an exciting and limitless future in mind, we chose Upwork to better convey our vision and represent our current and future community. It’s a name that inspires us and we hope it will inspire you as well.
Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork
Classivity.com – ClassPass.com
In 2014 Classtivity, a monthly gym-like membership for people who wanted to get in shape with a different workout every time, was officially rebranded to the name of their product that was proving most successful: ClassPass.
The company has both Classtivity.com (redirects to Classpass.com) and Classpass.com (acquired in August 2019) domain names.
Along with Juul this is an example of how sometimes a single product can reshape entirely a business idea and a brand.
Thank you for reading this far. We hope the above will help you in the process of creating and growing a successful brand. See you in Part 3, where we will look at brands who chose short and sweet names.