How to Pick the Right Startup Business Names

How to Pick the Right Startup Brandable Business Names

Early in the web2.0 era, tech companies had resorted to choosing some of most bizarre names for their startups which were then considered cool even though they were seemingly meaningless. Some of these companies grew into multimillion and multibillion dollar businesses but a lot of these oddly named companies simply disappeared from the radar or rebranded their name and look altogether later on.

There are great ways to name startups and there are utterly odd and uncreative ways to do it. However, it seems that those entrepreneurs who do their homework when it comes to company branding, which involves choosing the right business name, generally get many other things right and their startups have an enduring legacy.

Startup Naming #Fails

When it comes to really bad startup names, there are plenty of companies that have scooped the cake. A lot of these were the web2.0 era companies who were riding on a buzz that you have to give you startup a weird name for it to hit it big. According to (, some of the really bad startup names include the following:-
Xobni which is a backward spelled “inbox”
Bawte derived from “bought”. Name for an app.
Fairtilizer The name of the company is actually “Five OC”
There are many other bad startup names that could easily take the crowning glory such as Doostang and Thoof. There are plenty of other startup names out there that sound really awful but some have, incredibly, become a huge success.
Thanks to the business naming mistakes of those earlier entrepreneurs, latter day startup founders seem to have learned their lessons well. Today’s startups get branding. Let us look at some of the biggest names in the recent years:-

Banjo etc
One main characteristic of these new names is that they are short, easy to remember, easily recognizable and they have a powerful branding effect. In the domain branding lingo, they are said to be brandable domain names.
The advantage of choosing names which are not odd-sounding is that they do not distract the end user the brand experience. Neither are they confusing.

Simplicity Works Magic for Startups

When it comes to choosing a business name for startups, simplicity is best. That is why it is often advisable to choose normal words for use in branding. The brand name must be user-friendly for a cross-spectrum for audiences. It is important to take cognizance of the fact that the people who are going to interact with your brand are from different cultural, linguistic, demographical or even generational backgrounds. It is therefore important to choose business names that will resonate well across a whole spectrum of the brand’s user base. With normal and easily recognizable words, your users are able to easily connect the dots and have an image or visual association between the brand name and the actual product you are selling even if users are only hearing of you for the first time.

Good naming is good for attracting investors

Choosing a good business name is not just about connecting to your key market. For many entrepreneurs looking for startup funding, there is an increasing need to streamline the message that they are getting to their investors and it starts with choosing a good business name. In the past, most people starting businesses were garage-oriented or dorm-oriented and lacked business savvy such as understanding the details of branding. Today’s entrepreneurs are savvier. They are able to sit down and differentiate their unique brand from all the noise.

Woman's hand with red pen writing words "Bad idea" on the background of words "idea".

Woman’s hand with red pen writing words “Bad idea” on the background of words “idea”.

Don’t blow your startup capital on a domain name

There are startup entrepreneurs who are so committed to a particular domain name that they are willing to risk it all. You will see a business startup with a capital of $100,000 blowing $20,000 to $30,000 domain name. While a good name matters, it may not be worth risking everything for. Once you have a clarity of purpose and a unique concept of the kind of branding message that you wish to pass across, there are plenty of unique “brandable” domain names that could really do your business justice. The good thing is that they won’t cost you a fortune. Branding websites such as have plenty of premium .com domain names which are brandable and excellent options for business startups.

Quirkiness and Stick-ability

The modern entrepreneur does not go for the goofy names such as “Doostang” anymore but they still want something special and uniquely differentiating. When choosing unique names, it is also important to make sure they are “sticky”. This means the name is memorable. However, when picking the quirky names, it is also important that it has some “loose association” with what your business is about. The prospects should be able to roughly connect the dots once they hear the business name. The name could be quirky, but at least let it project your business mission.
Employing the power of linguistic intrigue in business names

This is another common strategy that is employed by the modern entrepreneur. It involves using amalgams of words or creating new words out of linguistic terms. This allows businesses to throw in the clues of what their business does while still making the name unique and intriguing. A good example is SnapChat and WhatsApp which are apps for chatting.

There is a good premium for choosing names that give out the clues. It allows consumers to dive right into the branding experience. They can easily figure out what you are about in their minds and the sense of intrigue generated will make them want to try it out. A unique, sticky and relevant name that gives out the clues is a good value proposition and companies that have it will generally have a unique competitive advantage in an otherwise crowded marketplace.