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March 2021 recap: Which brands and domains made headlines
Kristina Misic access_time 19 min read

Welcome to the third month of the year! Let us review some of the most interesting branding, naming and domain name news we observed in the past 31 days.

Desktop.com finally launched

On 2nd March, a complete remote team solution and digital work-life organizer, Desktop.com was finally launched into the global Software as a Service (SaaS) market with fiercely competitive functionality. You can read our interview with Rolf Larsen, the CEO and Founder of Desktop.com, who recently shared the story behind the brand, the domain name Desktop.com, and what can we expect from them in the coming period.

Rolf Larsen, the CEO and Founder of Desktop.com

Walt Disney to shutter at least 60 Disney stores, shift focus online

Even big brands are shifting their focus to online sales. The Walt Disney Company is closing at least 20% of its brick-and-mortar stores by the end of the year, as the company plans to further utilize its popular shopDisney.com website, and will add a larger selection of merchandise to appeal to a wider audience.

Wise announced that the company is moving its brand from TransferWise.com to Wise.com

Initially launched in 2011 with just money transfer services, TransferWise changed its name to simply Wise in February 2021. On March 2nd, Wise announced on its Twitter account that the company is moving its brand from TransferWise.com to the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Wise.com. Wisely, right? What a fantastic domain name.

Saks Fifth Avenue is spinning off its e-commerce business

Saks Fifth Avenue is splitting its e-commerce business, Saks.com, from its store sales to raise money and capitalize on the shift to online shopping amid the pandemic. Funded by about $500 million from Insight Partners, Saks.com will continue to operate in tandem with the physical stores, allowing for services including online shopping and in-store pickup and returns. The separation allows Saks.com, which has about $1 billion in annual sales, to raise money to fuel its growth, the company said

UAE’s first independent digital banking platform launched

Dubai’s fintech firm YAP has launched its first digital banking services in United Arab Emirates. YAP doesn’t have physical branches so it has secured a strong online presence by acquiring its EBM domain YAP.com.

“The fintech revolution has become very popular in other parts of the world and we saw a gap and unique need for this service in the Middle East.”

The chief Executive Officer of YAP Marwan Hachem

Unilever removes of the word ‘normal’ from the packaging

Dove manufacturer Unilever has announced the removal of the word ‘normal’ from the packaging of all its beauty and personal care brands. The company’s research found that more than 56 percent of people feel excluded by the beauty and personal care industry so this is definitely a new era of inclusive beauty.

KFC launched a campaign that certainly won our hearts this month

KFC decided they don’t want to use their slogan: ‘Finger licking good’ during the pandemic so they borrowed some slogans from other popular brands — like Nike, L’Oreal and Red Bull. KFC further explained that the brand has “nothing but respect” for the brands whose catchphrases it was appropriating, and said the stunt was all in good fun.

KFC UK & Ireland

Google released a policy update that will be seen as a setback for many in the industry

Back in January, it was announced that Google Chrome planned to withdraw support for third-party cookies by 2022. The change will have a huge impact on ad tech as cookies are often used to target ads. How will it affect your brand?

By Chloe got a new owner but loses its name

Plant-based chain By Chloe named its stalking horse bidder to acquire the company out of bankruptcy—but that new owner will have to come up with a new name for the concept because they can’t acquire the chain’s registered trademark “By Chloe”.

MGM Replaces Iconic Leo with New CG-Animated Mascot

After a century of roaring at audiences on the big screen, the MGM lion Leo (yep, he has a name) has been rendered in CGI. How do you like it?

Greenlight Technologies rebrands as Pathlock

In conjunction with securing $20 million in a strategic growth round, the company is rebranded itself from Greenlight Technologies to Pathlock. Pathlock acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Pathlock.com. The new brand aligns with the company’s focus on the emerging market opportunity for access orchestration. 

STOFF & STIL is changes its name to Selfmade

The company originally started as Peters Resthal and the name was changed to STOFF & STIL in the 1990s with the aspiration to go from being a local Herning shop to become a Scandinavian chain. Now aspiring to become even more international and expand to the rest of Europe, the company is changing its name to simply Selfmade. The transformation will take place over the course of the year in our shops and online. The company owns the EBM domain Selfmade.com. Well, that’s a great domain name for the company that sells fabrics, sewing patterns, sewing accessories, and haberdashery!

CULedger has changed its name to Bonifii

CULedger, an industry leader in privacy- and security-enhanced solutions, announced the changing of its name to Bonifii. Bonifii owns the EBM domain name Bonifii.com that surely reflects the evolving focus of the company.

“The brand, Bonifii, is a play on the word “bona fide,” which means genuine or authentic and is reflective of our flagship MemberPass product. The ‘ii’ at the end of Bonifii is a symbolic reference to our mission which is to deliver a trusted and verifiable peer-to-peer exchange network.”

Julie Esser, senior vice president of marketing and communications for Bonifii.

Angie’s List has announced it will be rebranded as Angi

The online marketplace Angie’s List has announced it is rebranding as Angi and its parent company, ANGI Homeservices Inc. is changing its name to Angi Inc. The company acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Angi․com in March 2019 and it also owns Angie.com. The Denver-based company announced the new name represents its “promise for a new era in everything home.”

Reckitt Benckiser announced it was dropping its full name in favor of the RB brand

The British manufacturer behind Lysol, Clearasil and Durex, announced it would rebrand itself and be known simply as Reckitt (which is the only name most people ever called it anyway). Prior to this announcement, the company used the domain name RB.com which now redirects to the exact brand match domain Reckitt.com. Considering the company owns both domain names, and brand protection begins with a good domain strategy, it is a great move by the company to acquire both assets.

Chinatown Market is changing its brand name after accusations of cultural appropriation

The Los Angeles-based streetwear brand has officially announced that it will be changing its brand name. According to Chinatown Market, this announcement is “just the beginning” and a new name will be announced in the coming months.

“We did not do enough to consider what this name would mean to the communities in Chinatowns across the world and we need to take ownership of this mistake.”

Chinatown Market’s announcement on Instagram

Entercom Communications is changing its name to Audacy

After more than 50 years as Entercom Communications, the Philly-based national radio giant is changing its name to Audacy. Founded in 1968, the company says it engages over 170 million consumers each month across its app, website, premium podcast network, and live events and experiences. As part of the change, Audacy will sunset the Radio.com brand for its podcast and streaming radio app but keep the podcast company names. They will however tag themselves as “an Audacy company.” So it seems that the company decided to rebrand to something people can’t easily pronounce or spell. Do you think it’s easier to remember Radio.com or Audacy.com? What would be easier to share with friends or family? What sounds more powerful? The decision is certainly surprising, but time will tell how this move will affect the brand. We will definitely keep an eye on it. 

Now TV has refreshed its identity and erased the ‘TV‘ qualifier

To present a new streamlined presence to the world, Now TV has dropped the word ‘TV‘ from its name. The company says this leverages the power of three and removes unnecessary detail. We couldn’t agree more.

“By moving from Now TV to Now, we marry our world-class quality with brilliant simplicity. This immediacy creates a true destination and community for those who love and live for the best entertainment.“

Marina Storti, managing director at Now

The Coronavirus vaccine produced by AstraZeneca is now called Vaxzevria

The name change to Vaxzevria was approved by the EMA on 25 March, following an application from the company. AstraZeneca owns the domain Vaxzevria.com to make sure you don’t land on the wrong website. A good example of proactive and preventative brand protection.

Luxury goods in virtual space

Gucci has started selling Gucci’s “first digital model” sneakers – and the world went crazy. Luxury brand’s first ‘digital’ shoes can be worn only in virtual or augmented worlds online, but some believe the concept will take off across fashion.

Many car brands have revealed rebrands recently, and now Renault has revealed a new logo, a geometric version of its diamond-shaped design which has been in use since the 1920s. The new flat logo comprises two intertwining diamond shapes which can be animated for digital media. 

Jack Dorsey has sold his first tweet as an NFT

After it spent just over two weeks on the market, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has sold his first tweet as an NFT for the weirdly specific figure of $2,915,835.47.

Funding rounds, Acquisitions, Exits and IPOs in March 2021

Compass files S-1

Compass, the real-estate brokerage startup backed by roughly $1.6 billion in venture funding, filed its S-1. Compass owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Compass.com that surely gives customers, business partners, and investors an easy and intuitive way to remember and find the brand online.

Doma goes public in a deal valued at $3B

Doma, formerly known as States Title, will go public in a deal valued at $3B. Doma acquired its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Doma.com before announcing the big news about its rebrand. How do you make it easier for your customers to remember the name of your brand? Doma did a great job with its rebranding!

Clari raisef $150M in Series E Funding

Clari has closed on $150 million, bringing the company’s total valuation to $1.6 billion. The company owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Clari.com. Short and memorable, this surely sticks in minds.

Aero  has raised $20 million in Series A funding

Aero, a startup backed by Garrett Camp’s startup studio Expa, has raised $20 million in Series A funding. No doubt, their EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Aero.com secured them the best kind of traffic (+ more visitors globally) and some great business opportunities.

Pipe raised  $50 million in “strategic equity funding”

A little over one year ago, Pipe raised a $6 million seed round led by Craft Ventures. A few months after that initial seed raise, Pipe brought in another $10 million in funding as an extension of that round. This March, Pipe announced a new raise — $50 million in “strategic equity funding” from a slew of high-profile investors. The company has acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Pipe.com in February 2020. With such a great domain name it’s not surprising investors value their strong brand identity.

Via acquires mapping software company Remix

Remix, the premier collaborative mapping platform for transportation planning and decision-making, joins Via for $100M in cash and equity. Remix operates on its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Remix.com and this arrangement will let the startup maintain its independent brand.

Centrical announced that it raised $32M

Centrical, a startup developing an employee engagement and performance management platform, raised $32 million, which brings Centrical’s total raised to date to $64 million. Word-of-mouth marketing works with a strong and memorable domain so Centrical operates on its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Centrical.com.

Offerpad plans to go public

The Phoenix, Ariz.-based company announced its plans to go public by merging with Supernova Partners Acquisition Company in a deal valued at $3 billion. Offerpad decided to build its brand on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Offerpad.com. Smart decision, it gives them control over their online identity and the content they create, which enhances brand credibility.

TinySeed has raised $25 million for its second fund

TinySeed, which runs an accelerator program for very early-stage business software startups that are largely bootstrapped, announced via Axios exclusively, that it has raised $25 million for its second fund, TinySeed operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name TinySeed.com which means they’re aware of the importance of a good name for success in today’s business world.

Neobroker Bitpanda raises $170M at a $1.2B valuation

Based in Vienna, Bitpanda has picked up $170 million, a Series B that catapults the company’s valuation to $1.2 billion. The startup owns its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Bitpanda.com and their platform is live in France, Spain, Turkey, Italy & Poland, with plans to expand to more markets in 2021. It won’t be hard with such a great global domain.

Socure raises $100M at a $1.3 billion valuation

Socure, which uses AI and machine learning to verify identities, announced that it has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round at a $1.3 billion valuation. Socure operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Socure.com. In 2020, it grew its customer base by over 85% year over year and expanded its workforce by over 50% to about 240 people today.

Olo IPO’s expecting pricing has increased

Olo’s expected pricing of its initial public offering has increased to a range of between $20 and $22 a share from between $16 and $18 a share. The company could now raise up to $396 million and be valued at up to $3.12 billion. Olo acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Olo.com in December 2010 when shifted its focus from B2C to B2B. How does your domain name support your company growth?

Kuda has picked up $25M

The company, which currently offers mobile-first banking services in Nigeria, has picked up $25 million. Considering that one of the biggest trends in fintech today is the rise of digital banking, it’s great to see that Kuda invested in the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Kuda.com.

Investors are crazy about Sivo

Sivo, founded eight months ago, has already raised $5 million from investors at a post-money valuation of $100 million. The company has already raised $5M from investors at a post-money valuation of $100M. This young startup operates on its EBM domain Sivo.com which means more direct traffic, easier client conversions, and more effective marketing campaigns for the brand. We are not surprised investors are convinced to lend so much to such a young startup.

Neighbor has raised $53 million in a Series B round of funding

Neighbor, which operates a self-storage marketplace, announced Wednesday that it has raised $53 million in a Series B round of funding. Did you know that Neighbor used the domain name StoreWithNeighbor.com before upgrading to the EBM (Exact Brand Match) Neighbor.com? Joseph Woodbury, Neighbor.com CEO, shared the story behind the brand and this amazing upgrade for our Names With Stories series of interviews, and if you missed it – you can check it out here.

Blacklane continues expanding its existing business with  a round of €22 million

Blacklane — the Berlin startup that provides on-demand black-car chauffeur services in Berlin, London, Dubai, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Singapore, and 16 other cities — has closed a round of €22 million ($26 million at current rates). Blacklane operates on its EBM domain Blacklane.com. Smart decision, surely helps them reach wider possibilities for expansion and growth.

Twitter has acquired Reshuffle

The complete team of Reshuffle, which consists of a total of seven members, including co-founders Amir Shevat and Avner Braverman, will join the much larger Twitter workforce. If you haven’t heard of this brand by now, we’ll remind you that we had an interview with the Reshuffle team where we asked them everything about their EBM domain Reshuffle.com and how it all started.

FourKites raised $100 million, bringing its total raised to over $200.5 million

Chicago, Illinois-based supply chain visibility platform FourKites raised $100 million that is planning to use toward product development as FourKites expands its global reach.FourKites owns its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain FourKites.com and more than 500 of the world’s largest brands use their platform.

Blockchain.com raised $300 million in a mega fundraising round

Another funding round for Blockchain.com! Just one month after the crypto startup raised $120 million at a $3 billion valuation, Blockchain.com (mostly known for its digital wallets) now has over 31 million verified clients in over 200 countries, tripling its userbase in the past 12 months. The company changed its name from Blockchain to Blockchain.com in December 2019. When you own such a strong domain name you have to show it everywhere, right?

Recharge.com has raised €10 million ($11.8 million) in a debt funding round

Recharge.com has raised €10 million ($11.8 million) that it plans to use to extend its mobile offering, product range and expand in regions such as North America, Latin America, and the GCC. The startup operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Recharge.com and they are building a great brand around their name.

General Atlantic leads $145 million financing round in Staffbase

Staffbase, a leading provider of digital solutions for internal communications, has raised a $145 million (€122 million) financing round led by General Atlantic. Staffbase operates on its EBM domain name Staffbase.com. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital tools for companies, so Staffbase is reaping the benefits of that shift.

Substack is raising $65 million that would value the company at around $650 million

 This fundraising of Substack, which provides a platform on which writers can publish paid email newsletters and keep most of the revenue, signifies how big newsletter publishing has gotten recently. Substack owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Substack.com that matches their brand name. Great move that is helping them grow their platform.

Cameo raises a $100 million, at a valuation of just over $1 billion

Cameo’s $100 million Series C funding to help fuel the future of the Connection Economy. Cameo operates on the EBM domain Cameo.com and owning this valuable asset results in more trust, more visitors, and increased word-of-mouth marketing. No wonder the platform is so popular.

Otrium raises $120M just a year after raising $26M

With this funding round, Otrium plans to expand to the U.S. At the moment, the service is available in Europe so Otrium smartly decided to build its brand on the EBM domain Otrium.com. This broad-minded thinking has attracted some great business opportunities and we’re sure that the name of this startup will be seen in the news around the world in the coming months.


We hope you enjoyed reading all the above because this past month was filled with some interesting branding lessons. Don’t forget you can always find us on MarkUpgrade’s Twitter account where we have daily posts with startup, branding, naming, domain and business news (and helpful tips).

What caught your attention this March 2021? Feel free to let us know! In the meantime, if you want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.

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