Naming your startup right!

Agree there are many articles on the topic – ‘Naming your startup!’. The only reason I am writing yet another post is because I’ve suffered the pains of naming our startup wrong.

The earlier version of Wishberg was Tyche’d. Tyche is the greek goddess of fortune. It meant luck in Roman. I came up with a new word – Tyche’d, which according to us meant getting lucky or getting fortune. My initial reaction – this was the most brilliant word, only next to Google or Twitter. We were so convinced with this name – we just went ahead and registered domain, company and other identities. We pronounced it as “Tai-Kee”.

There were signs all over that we’re wrong!

  • Early signs: Our accountant, hiring consultants, candidates we were interviewing always had this question to ask – “Sorry, but how do we pronounce this?”. We thought they would get used to it.
  • Next signs: Investors reached out to us – “Hey Pravin, heard you’re building a product called Tiched. Tell us more about it.” We thought they would get used to it.
  • Next signs: We announced the product in Dec 2011. Our friends and users started asking us – “How to pronounce this name? How to spell this name?.” We thought they would get used to it.
  • The bad signs – Post launch, we started reaching out to users and friends how their product experience was. Answers – “Oh, yes. What is the name of your product. It is called ‘touched’ something right?”

And there was a time we got used to this question – “What is your startup called? How do you pronounce name of your start-up?” Unfortunately we ignored all the early signs. This was a big lesson we learned – spotting signals when things are going wrong or are not according to the plan. As a startup founder, one needs to be open to change always – business name or even the business itself (pivoting).

By April, we were already setting up our team and working on the revamped product. We decided to rebrand from Tyche’d to something simpler, something people would find easy to recall, relate with our product and its core proposition of ‘wish’. It took us many days to choose with from multiple combinations. The last set of 50 choices included –

Wishmatcher, Wishpug, Wishbull, Wishberg, Wishkite, Wishrite, Wishfold, Wishtro, Wishhawk, Wishbyte, Wishsome, Wishjini, Wishtake, Wishpair, Wishtiles, Wishting, Wishnix, Wishmile, Wishred, Wishmatch, Wishport, Wishe, Wishper, Wishboard, Wishbud, Wishbuddy, Wishbuds, Wishpix, Wishtown, Wishcity, Wishworld, Wishtree, Wishspot, Wishon, Gowish, Wishkart, Wishspace, Wishhunt, Wishhunter, Wishpal, Wishmate, Wishmates, Wishgrid, Wishgram, Wishhub, Wishwall, Wishpage, Wishweb, Wishrank, Wishsurfer, Wishybee, Wishling, Wishpool

We called every friend of ours asking them whats the best choice! The final two were Wishpug v/s Wishberg. (Btw, now I own many of the above domain names)

Wishberg was selected for two reasons:

  • Many of our friends related with Wishberg cause of other similar brand names – Carlsberg (Beer), Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), Bloomberg (News), Iceberg (Titanic), Goldberg (WWE Wrestler)
  • Wishberg ~ Iceberg. Wishing is just the tip of our platform, there is more to come.

Today almost everyone from our accountant, employees, partners, friends, family and most importantly our users know ‘Wishberg‘.

Feedback / Advice –

Of simple startup names that work –

  • Single letter words – Path, Square, Fab, Uber
  • Twisted Spellings – Lyft, Digg, Disqus
  • Tongue Twisters – Quora, Twitter, Bitly
  • Double letter words – Instagram, Foursquare, SendGrid, Facebook, AngelList, TechCrunch, PostMates (Wishberg goes here).

I did a bit of research, and found following excellent articles about ‘Naming your Startup’. If you are at a similar stage of naming your product / startup – make sure you read all of them –

Talk to as many people as you can to cross check if your startup/product has the right name. Spend over a month just to make sure you have got it right. This is the identity you are building and it will be with you for rest of your life.