Mentessa recently raised €1M from Eleven Ventures. The brand has invested in both, the mentessa.com and mentessa.ai domain names. The majority of successful global brands use the power of domains and maintain portfolios of names that serve different purposes – to protect their brand, as part of marketing campaigns, sub-brands or products, to appeal to specific audiences and many others. In Mentessa’s case, the .ai extension clearly communicates their area of activity.
In this interview, Tina talks with us about the origin of the brand name, their choice of the domain name, and what’s new and interesting in their future plans.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how Mentessa got started?
I have always been passionate about the power of connection and know-how exchange. Every time when something great happened in my life, it was because the right people came together at the right time to learn and grow with each other.
This is why I have loved mentoring and engaged as a mentee, a mentor, or have created such exchange formats as far as I can think. From my experience in over 30 mentoring programs, I learned that rigid top-down initiatives are not enough to connect people in today’s environment. When it comes to maximizing human potential in the new world of work, we have to rethink mentoring from a program towards an everyday resource of knowledge and collaboration. As soon as the idea of a “Tinder for skills” was born, I quit my job and got started.
How did you get the Mentessa.com domain name? Why was it important to get that one exactly?
I bought the domain as soon as I had the brand in my mind. Mentessa is set to become a global market leader in the human workplace, and a global domain name, as well as a website and a comprehensive digital brand presence, are essential for our brand communication and sales.
Tina Ruseva, Founder & CEO of Mentessa
What value do you think Mentessa.com brings to the Mentessa brand? Do you own any other domain names?
The digital transformation consists of digital and transformation – it needs both to succeed. Therefore, next to Mentessa as a technology solution, we are also running the largest future of work festival in Europe “Big & Growing”. It is a decentralized community-driven conference that amplifies the needs of the new world of work, especially the potential in empowerment for the economy and society. It connects the global new work leaders in different cities throughout the year and in the Big & Growing community online. Naturally, the initiatives are connected online and we own bigandgrowing.com as a domain, too.
What was the vision and purpose of your company when it first started and how has Mentessa evolved as a brand since?
We started with a focus on peer-to-peer know-how exchange in communities but soon realized that today every company should transform into an expert network. While our values and vision have remained the same, this insight transformed our purpose.
At Mentessa, we believe that people thrive in a culture of mentorship and inclusion. Our mission is to remove boundaries to know-how exchange and collaboration for everyone in the workplace. For this purpose, we are building a technology that scales the benefits of mentoring to 100% of the workforce. It empowers every individual to find and share skills, resources, and guidance from within their community regardless of fixed structures, job description, location, gender, sex, or anything else. With that, we transform a workforce into a community and enable a new way of people collaboration: “Where the future works”.
Never before have we faced global challenges, like the climate crisis or the Corona pandemic. Next to exponential productivity, the digital world has also facilitated unprecedented volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambivalence. In order to tackle those challenges in this new environment, we need to embrace the collective intelligence of the most intelligent species on earth – us. We need organizational forms that allow for interdisciplinary teamwork and decentralized collaboration. We need to empower people for bold and purpose-driven work. We need to unleash the creativity and innovation of every single person in the workplace and ensure their inclusion. We need to transform a workplace into a community. In fact, a sustainable economy and society are only possible if we change the way we work. With Mentessa, we have committed to accelerating this process and to driving a future of work that is both – high-tech and high-human. We do so by using cutting-edge technology to free people from the invisible barriers of the present workplace and empower everyone to reach their full potential at work.
In your profession or area of expertise, what are some of the bad brand naming recommendations you’ve heard?
I think that any recommendation is a bad brand recommendation as the brand needs to be inherently connected with the values and vision of the founder and therefore can only emerge from within. But a brand, too, is a communication archetype, and as such, it underlies the collective conscious of current trends around priorities or language. Following those (e.g. like the *ly-trend in startup names a few years ago) can help communicate easier sometimes.
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
We listen and read a lot. The world today is connected and interdependent. This makes it easier to stay on top of current trends, customer needs, and challenges. Purposeful marketing today is bi-directional and requires a dialogue, if not a multilogue to be relevant and competitive. Big & Growing as a conference is one example of how we do it particularly. But we also invest in studies, webinars, and take the time to understand each of our customers.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Start on purpose. On a planet with ending resources, in the face of a climate crisis, and global challenges like rising forced migration, increasing knowledge and skills gaps, inequality, extreme poverty etc, the world has never been more incomplete, but at the same time, we have never had so much efficiency at our fingertips to build it.
Tina Ruseva, Founder & CEO of Mentessa
What do’s and dont’s can you share when it comes to branding and naming?
I believe that we should all listen to our inner voice more than we do today. In terms of branding, a DO is to listen to spontaneous ideas, even if those do not sound “like they should to”. Mentessa and the Big & Growing New Work Festival were both created from different artifacts from my background and my environment at the time they started. This is why both special names stick out. I don’t think there are any dont’s but the requirement to love your brand. In the first few years, you will probably be the only one to promote it.
What is next for Mentessa?
We are hiring, growing, and expanding internationally. Our goal is to be the leading platform for future organizations – help companies create an internal network, a talent marketplace, for sharing skills and knowledge, bringing employees along, and purposely connecting them with real people within the company. If you find this vision appealing and are looking to join an exceptionally driven team building a customer-centered product in the growing market of transformation of work and employee experience, we would love to hear from you on mentessa.com/jobs.
Last thing, if some of our readers have more questions. Where can they reach you online?