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HOW TO INVENT A NAME FOR A START-UP
In search of a short name that could promote the company and become a household word among customers, the founders of startups come up with seemingly incredible names. RBC daily found projects with the most unusual names and figured out how they relate to the concept of services.
Our focus is on the protection of personal data is not clear to all, so we chose a name that could be kept in mind by non-professionals and understandable by professionals. We used to brainstorm and come up with something like ‘persdata’, ‘persdannye’, 152-FZ (the law that governs this area) but it did not sound too well. Then we took the law number of the law 152-FZ and combined it with B-52. It wouldn’t work without a djinn.
Once I saw Stanley Kubrick’s movie ‘Full Metal Jacket’, in one of the episodes of which the song by The Trashmen called Surfin'Bird was used. I knew nothing about the track and began to search for information about it on Google. Ultimately I decided just in case to register a domain under that name. I began to show more obvious interest in it, by the way, when the same single sounded in one of the ‘Family Guy’ cartoon series. Then I decided with a partner to launch an advisory service, which would rate websites in RuNet and thought that the name SurfingBird would resonate well with the idea of surfing the Internet. Now we have more than a million users, and there is a vinyl record with a ‘startup’ track in the office.
Our service proposes a one-aloner driver to find travel companions for both single and regular trips. Thus drivers do not get bored in traffic and can earn extra money; and those who join them can quickly get to the place. We have been going over the names, from some banal to very intricate ones, with philosophical implications. One day we were discussing our proposals with a friend, and he did not hesitate to say ‘Plantain’. That 100% matches the concept of our service. Besides the environmental aspect played up here because when people travel on their own, there is less on the road, which reduces emissions of CO? in the atmosphere.
We are bringing to market a mobile app that should replace the paper grocery lists to go shopping. When it came to choosing a domain, I initiated brainstorming through the Basecamp online platform. The version ‘Buy bread’, which was closer to the final, came out almost immediately. But at that time (December 2010) that was the name of a popular application for Nokia. Then there were many permutations of words and letters in versions, sospisk.om, sospiskom.ru and pospisku.ru. Anyway, every option raised doubts, either a domain seems exotic, or it sounds bad, then something else. During another discussion in the office the other co-founder Oleg Neder suddenly said ‘Buy a loaf!’ We all laughed. We immediately hooked on to the idea. The same applies to names, they should attract attention, intrigue and evoke emotions.
Our startup 2san develops a terminal for payments with credit cards using a mobile phone. The name echoes ‘toucan’, a beautiful bright exotic bird. This image is quite emotional and is easy to remember. 2can also be read as to can, ‘in order to be able to have new opportunities’. If we go further, you can unravel the riddle 2can as ‘two can’, ‘possibilities for two’ – that means that our service is equally beneficial to both the seller who accepts payment cards and the buyer who pays quickly and easily. Working on the brand, we intended to create an original name that would stand out from the whole range of process names consisting of the words online, pay and banking.
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