Being a founder is hard: naming a startup


Ryan Chacon is one of the brilliant minds behind Stupil, a new kind of online video player that enables viewers to make purchases while watching a video (how awesome!). Here he shares some insights about the process of naming a product, we hope to hear about your experience in the comments section. Make sure to follow his blog, here. 


Ben (my cofounder) and I have recently spent countless hours trying to develop a name for the first product that we will launch.

Naming a product or company can be difficult. So many things need to be considered: Can you spell it easily? How long is it? How does it sound when said it different contexts? What does it mean in different languages (funny example)? How does it read? What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says that name? The list goes on, but for us, the most difficult was finding a name that we could build a brand around that was available as a  dot com. As I imagine, this may be the case for other companies looking for a name because I am convinced that every word in the English and Latin dictionary is already owned by someone somewhere. Even as creative as we thought we were, I can’t even begin to tell you have many names we came up with that were taken and not even being used–that was frustrating.

Our naming conundrum began after we decided to split our platform into two different products. We realized that building a brand for a product that goes after non-profit and for-profit customers can be difficult because the message needed to attract customers is different. Our company’s name is still Stupil–for now. But the two products will have separate names. We are first going to build the platform that will be used to raise money and then build out the e-commerce features with the second product.

Here are some of the names we came up with and why they didn’t work. Keep in mind, we wanted something that related to what we were doing which was raising funds online.

  • “Are we now stuck with having a Raisin as our mascot?” “Having to explain how it’s spelled every time we say it to someone is going to be a pain.”
  • “Sounds like Nike’s slogan–Just Do it”
  • “Is it Give i o? or Give e o?”
  •”A chugger is an annoying fundraising employee who solicits people as they walk down the street in populated areas, we don’t want to be associated with that.”
  • “Funding toilets?” (loo is another name for a toilet)

As you can see, names may come off as creative, but later become a problem. After all the work we devoted to naming our product we are excited to come up with the name of our first product, BakeSale, but because “” is taken, we are going to host it at “”. The jury is still out on the name for our second product aimed at e-commerce, but we have some time to decide on a name. Stupil will be the owner of the two products when it’s all said and done.

Thanks for reading. I will be posting an article on some tips for naming and the resources we used for our naming process.

Pic by  mutsmuts on Flickr (cc)