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How to Name Your Startup

When it comes to naming a startup getting a name that feels right, the name of the next big thing, can seem incredibly daunting. There is a lot to consider as you wait for those little moments of genius to crop up.

First, start by understanding what your name needs to convey. Is your business luxury products, or fun products. You need to make sure the language is the right fit. A tech company called ‘Hope’ would be a misnomer. This name holds no industry relevance and it isn’t clear what you’re implying with such a name.

Our Startup Generator will help you with more than just creating a name. In this article we help you think about much more than just a name, we’ll look at your Brand Goals, Target Market, Demographic Interests, Analyze Competitors Names, Brainstorm Ideas and get Startup name inspiration.

Choosing a Short Brandable Name

The name you eventually choose needs to be short, easy to remember and spell, and be relevant. Think Google, Amazon, or Nike. You can’t imagine these brands taking off, becoming the household names that they are if they had stuck with their original names? Nike would be called ‘Blue Ribbon Sport’. It’s too long and boring. Google would still be called ‘Back Rub’. It’s odd, and completely random, can you imagine saying to someone, ‘just Back Rub it.’

Having a name that is short, and brandable, something that is very easily identifiable and original is essential for a successful companies growth. We’ve written more extensively on branding on our Brand Name Generator.

Startup Goals

Where do you want your company to be in 10 years? If you are starting a business manufacturing bags, might you want to expand your business into other accessories? A name like ‘The Shoulder Bag’ whilst descriptive and interesting, outlining a niche in a competitive market, but would be far too limiting.

It is likely that your business won’t happen as you expect them to or you’ve planned. No one can predict every eventuality, but having clearly defined goals, and understanding that the wrong name could be really restricting in the future will help guide towards the perfect name, and help you build your brand identity.

Target Market

Naming a startup requires a certain amount of research. It shouldn’t just relate to your product but carry with it deeper contextual associations that capture the quintessential nature of the business. It needs to identify with the overarching message of the business, and it needs to be easily remembered. It should be quickly recognised and trigger a positive emotional response.

Think about your niche and the current trends within it. Then think about all the associations that come with that niche. For example, for the health supplements niche you might consider organic foods, and trending organic health substances. Ask yourself, what are the interests of my target market? And what kind of brands do they currently associate with, and why? Once you have a deep understanding of their interests you can start putting together a name that will stick in their minds and help your business grow.

Tech Startup Specific

When naming a tech startup, like any brand you have to consider who the target audience is. A B2B tech company should have a more technologically savvy name, than a B2C tech company. For example, Apple is a fun light hearted brand. It’s easily identifiable, interestingly supported through their supportive branding materials. But this brand identity wouldn’t have worked nearly as well for a B2B company like Microsoft. In the early days, Microsoft was almost entirely B2B. The name is descriptive, relevant and easy to remember. They are a software company, the name is serious and rather dull without being tech specific.

If you go even further in that direction you can look at IBM, the International Business Machines corporation. The acronym is short and easy to remember, but the name is long serious and hard to remember. In fact most people won’t know what it stands for. However, for those that do you can clearly see this is a company that means serious business. They are international so you can trust them, they deal with businesses, they make machines, or technology of some sort. The full version is a powerful name, but not an appealing brand name which is why they brand themselves with acronym.

For your tech startup then, you need to consider; are you a B2B business or B2C? If just B2B to begin with, will you expand to dealing direct with consumer down the line.

You name should use language that informs people of what you do, what you make, and appeal to your target audience in the right manner.

Startup Name Analysis

AimBrain

This company works with biometric authentication. Facial, voice and behavioural recognition. It was primarily developed for banks to help prevent fraud.  It is an intelligent system that you control, thus the use of the term brain. The name is easy to remember and spell. The name takes away some of the seriousness behind the product. As a back end system to prevent against serious banking fraud the light-hearted nature of the name could be limiting in it’s growth.

Oxbotica

This is a tech startup developing autonomous vehicles. The first part of the name is Ox, based on the companies location, Oxford England.  ‘Botica’ derives from robotics. One thing to note in this name is that without knowing where they are based the ‘Ox’ a the beginning could relate to other things, like the animal. This abbreviated place name mixed into a compound word makes a phonetically interesting word, that is easy to remember and unique, but the meaning behind it doesn’t hold up under closer scrutiny.

Rootine

This company cleverly tailors supplements to their customers based on genetic data. The name is the smart combination of root and routine. Root in this instance refers to both the natural ingredients of the supplements, plus suggests the company are addressing the ‘root’ of the issue. ‘Routine’ refers to the supplements becoming part of your daily routine. However, the purposeful misspelling will mean explaining how to spell it to potential customers and investors.

Graphcore

Developing a powerful IPU accelerator for AI applications.This compound word uses the terms ‘graph’ and ‘core’. ‘Graph’ in the name refers to graphic and ‘core’ implies internal, central computing system. It also implies essential.

Improbable

A startup developing a comprehensive platform for creating virtual and alternative reality applications. The name refers to the improbable nature of virtual reality, as well as suggesting the company are doing something improbable. It is easy to remember, short and isn’t restrictive at all.

The Clear Cut

This is a New York startup that offers a service to consumers to design their own engagement rings. Clear refers to the colour of diamonds and cut refers to the action of shaping precious gems for jewellery. The name doesn’t restrict them to just engagement rings, meaning down the line they could easily expand to creating high-end luxury personalised jewellery.

Startup Name Ideas

Finding the perfect name for your startup isn’t easy. Which is why some of the biggest brands out there started off as something completely different. Your name needs to be engaging and relevant, short and sweet , easy to spell and remember.

Start by brainstorming terms, words and phrases that relate to your niche. Expand the list with relevant trends and interesting abstract ideas that relate to the core message behind your brand.

Try using our Startup Name Generator to instantly and easily generate thousands of name ideas based around the keywords you pick out from your brainstorming sessions. It also, very handily, checks domain availability at the same time.

Once you’ve developed a list of terms you can eliminate any irrelevant or unappealing ones. Think about how easily the words can be understood, remembered and translated before exploring variations and compound words.

Finally, ask for other people’s opinions. Remember your target audience and try and ask relevant people, not just friends and family. Do they understand the name, can they spell it, how does it sound when they say it?

Here’s a short list of tech based words to help you get started:

Tech

Robotics

Advanced

Innovation

Cyber Security

Nano

Micro

Application

Optical

Logarithm

Quantum

Pixel

Resolution

Software

Hardware

Operation

Archive

Data

Processes

Code

Signature

File

Script

Startup Names: Top Tips to Remember

  1. Easy to remember and spell: You don’t want to have to constantly correct people about how it’s spelt or how to pronounce it. If somebody hears about it verbally they need to be able to go away and find out more on the internet. If you’ve thrown in some weird spelling to try and make the name more fun, they might struggle to find it, or even worse, struggle to remember it.
  2. Original: You have an opportunity to display the character and personality of your brand when you name your startup.
  3. Relevant: Your name should in some way relate to your product or service. Something completely random might work with a vast marketing budget behind it but you will struggle harder. People expect a name to inform them in some way.
  4. Are you shy to admit it: Whilst you don’t want a boring name for you business, you also don’t want one that’s too out there. Think about talking about the business to a stranger. Would you (and your employees) be happy, no proud, to tell them where they work. With a name like Back Rub for example, you probably wouldn’t. The name also needs to sound good out loud.
  5. Don’t limit yourself: As your brand grows you might want to expand into different sectors. Amazon was originally solely for books. Imagine if Jeff Bezos had named it ‘The Online Book Store’ instead.
  6. Target Audience: Remember, you and your friends aren’t your target audience, so that great name that makes you chuckle at your own ingenuity might not work so well. If your target audience is large international banks, you probably want a more serious, formal corporate name than a business selling bumbags direct to a consumer demographic of festival goers.
  7. Available: Conduct a thorough internet search. Find out what all your competitors are calling themselves and why. Then research aroundall of your favourite name ideas and make sure that no one has already taken it. If they have
  8. Doesn’t infringe on any trademarks: Before you make any final decisions, check that your name doesn’t infringe on any already existing trademarks. Do a search on http://uspto.gov/ to find out if you can register that name.
  9. Check domain and social media handles: For the best effect you want the same social handles across all platforms and ideally it would simply be your brand name, and you domain name. This isn’t always easy which is another reason to think up an original name.