Naming Your Startup: 2 Ways to Create a New Word
By: Carli Evilsizer | February 6, 2018
Do you love the idea of creating a new word that doesn’t exist yet for your startup’s name? This is great for founders who want a very unique name but creating a brand new word can seem like an impossible task.
In order to create a brand new word, you will need to write quite a few lists. Start by writing a list that has any words that explain what your service or product is, as well as industry jargon. Then, create another list of random words you are drawn to, it could be anything! Maybe there are a few words that motivate you or evoke emotions you’d like to connect to your brand. Or maybe you just like how a word sounds or looks spelled out.
Once you’ve created your lists, the hard (and fun!) part starts. There are two ways to create a new word: 1) Take an existing word and change the spelling or 2) Combine two words into one word.
1. Play With Spelling
Ever notice how many startups names are just regular words spelled incorrectly? Finding a different way to spell a word is one of the quickest, easiest ways to create a brand new word and feels very “startup-y”. Kreg Peeler, founder and CEO SpinGo has named more than one company and has successfully named two companies by finding a word in different language and tweaking the spelling.
“I am the entrepreneur of 2 companies, SpinGo and Aktify, and for both I had the same process for creating their brands. To kickstart your brainstorm create a list of qualities, concepts, and emotions that you want your brand to represent. Bold the ones that stand out and pick out the top 3-5. Review them in various typefaces to see how they look, then ask people to say the name to you to see if it's commonly pronounced correctly."
"Spingo comes from Spingere, which is Italian for to push, drive, or propel. The intention was to provide a platform for the any person event maker to promote and drive awareness for their events. 'I spingo my events.' Aktify comes from Aktiv, which is German for to initiative something, start a function. Aktify is focused on initiating sales opportunities for our client.”
-Kreg Peeler, Founder and CEO of SpinGo
2. Combine Two Words
Know you want to use certain words in your startup’s name but want to find a more interesting way to say them? Emily Kamburupitiya, Co-Founder of Finnops, found a way to combine two words that describe her startup’s services in a really simple, efficient and approachable manner.
“We wanted our services to be apparent in our name (finance and operations), without scaring anyone away with fancy words. Unique spellings can sometimes be confusing, so I kept it simple and combined the two words: Fin + Ops, and opted for N to suggest the word and - resulting in the company name Finnops. We even dropped any type of additional word afterwords like Solutions or Services - since we are pitching operational efficiency for our services, we decided there should be no extra fluff.”
-Emily Kamburupitiya, Co-founder of Finnops
Emily’s 3 Tips to Come Up With a Company Name:
1) Keep it easy to read and say: Our name before Finnops had 3 different possible pronunciations and the words Analytics after it, which threw people for a loop. Don't worry about being too specific - let your branding explain what you actually do.
2) Try to convey your service or product: Use synonyms for services or try mashing words together, use abbreviations, or feelings you want your customers to experience. While it may be a made up word, it will be worth it to have a good story on how you came up with it when customers ask.
3) Always check domain names before deciding: This was the hardest part! - You'd be surprised how many random words and word combinations are already snagged online. Domain names for your website are important to send people for more info, so be sure to check availability on tools like GoDaddy domain name search, which gives you prompts on available names too.
Or... Do Both!
Adam Selsby, Founder & CEO of Treatail found words that perfectly described his value proposition, shortened them AND mashed them together to create a new word. By shortening “treat” into “trea” and “retail” into “tail” then combining them together, he was able to create a new word and easily find a domain that wasn’t taken.
“That's Trea not Tree. And tail, not tale. - Treatail provides online shoppers a way to engage any online retailer and ask for a personalized deal. The seller receives the shoppers full shopping cart and target budget and the seller can tailor one or more personalized deals using their full inventory at their disposal. That's important from a naming standpoint because legally a price listed online isn't an offer to sell, it's an invitation to treat. Combined with retail it captures the essence of Treatail. Treatail.com was available and so we had our name. I would encourage anyone thinking of naming their company to write down all the different phonetically correct ways to spell a name before finalizing it. The domain is important too and there are tools such as https://www.leandomainsearch.com to find different combinations of available domains.”
-Adam Selsby Founder & CEO of TreaTail
We hope these tips will help if you are trying to create a brand new word to name your startup! When in doubt, just start writing lists of words and keep thinking of different combinations. The perfect name for your new company will come to you eventually!