10 startups that launched with a premium domain name in 2017

A lot of startups struggle with the naming process when they start and an even larger number fails in acquiring a great domain name for the company that they just launched. The general sentiment among these startups is that they can always go through a rebranding if needed or upgrade their domain name when they gain healthy traction and raise more funding.  But not all startups. Every now and then we’ll see newly funded startups launch with a killer, ultra premium domain name. Right from the start.

Here are 10 of them that announced funding this year: (more…)

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Digital pharmacy startup ScriptDash rebrands as Alto, acquires Alto.com

Digital pharmacy startup ScriptDash got a new name this week, along with $23 million in Series B financing. The San-Fransisco-based startup will now go by Alto to reflect its intention to go beyond just delivery.

“We started ScriptDash to simplify the pharmacy experience for those in need. Over the past two years, it’s been our privilege to serve the San Francisco Bay Area community. We’ve learned a lot about what it means to provide you with the world-class care you deserve. In that time, we also began to feel that we had a larger story to tell than just a pharmacy that delivers. Our new name, Alto, better embodies our company’s mission to build the world’s most patient-centric pharmacy.” co-founder Mattieu Gamache-Asselin writes in the company blog announcing the news of the name change. (more…)

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The Brandable Insider: A Look at Y Combinator’s 2017 Demo Day

“Step back and think about the difference in how end users use domains, the capital they have to invest in their name, [instead of] like a pure domain collector, and you can easily start to determine what areas make the most sense.” — Bruce Marler of Vegas Condo

In this week’s brandable entry I’m taking a look at some of the hits and misses at Y Combinator’s annual Demo Day. The event was held last week and featured pitches by more than 100 startups. Sitting in the audience were scores of investors and venture capitalists looking for their next, startup-to-acquisition, payday. The event included businesses from all over the globe and went on for two days.

Here’s a sampling of brands from the event, examined purely from a brandable domaining point of view. In my subjective evaluation I gave no consideration for the quality of business models or how well the brands corresponded to a given product or service. My approach was purely, would I be interested in buying this domain if I saw it available at a reasonable price. I also limited my list to companies who were already hosting their business at the exact match, dot-com for their brand.
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The Brandable Insider: Analyzing One Hundred Info-Tech Brands

Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your businessSteve Forbes

Each year, Wealthfront, the automated investment service, releases a list of the most desirable, mid-sized tech companies. Wealthfront believes that the most important financial decision any young person can make is where they choose to work and launch their career. With this in mind, they publish an annual list of the info-tech companies most likely to turn into big business. In other words, the best of the best.
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The Brandable Insider: Grubs Are Gross and Keywords Are Trendy

“[In 2017] brandable domain names will continue to be a popular form of investment for many domainers.”James Iles

Some brandable domains are classic. I’m talking about names like NatureLab ($22K), FoodFuture ($25K), MarketingToday ($1.5 mill), and Altavista ($3.2 mill). But if you’re like me and you’re focused on brands for startup companies with relatively shallow pockets, then brandable names and keywords can be a bit more temporal, jumpy and trending.
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The Brandable Insider: Sumo.com and Other Seemingly Mismatched Brands

There’s been a lot of press this week about the acquisition of the domain Sumo.com for a $1.5 million dollars. Noah Kagan, CEO of SumoMe has been making the rounds this week and you can find his interviews at Domain Sherpa, DomainNameWire and on his podcast blog, OKdork. You can also find articles at Entrepreneur Mag and NamePros. You can even find an opinion piece at Domain Gang which questions the wisdom of spending so much money on a brand that has no obvious correlation to its core product and service.

All this talk about Sumo.com got me to thinking. I started to reflect on all the business ventures, in a variety of industries, that have picked up dictionary word domains and are using them for brands even though there is no obvious connection between the brand and their product.

So here’s a few exact match domain-brands that could have you scratching your head.
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Online printing startup Printful invests $100k to upgrade from ThePrintful.com to Printful.com

California-based online printing dropshipping startup Printful reached out to me to share they have upgraded their domain name, going from ThePrintful.com to Printful.com, in a transaction that cost $100,000 USD. Formerly Idea Bits LLC, the print-on-demand dropshipping company is now also incorporated as Printful Inc in the state of Delaware.

“Incorporating Printful is a step toward our goal of going public on the U.S. stock exchange by 2020 and will help us raise investment capital. We decided to change our domain to better build our brand – we’re Printful, not The Printful, and our domain name needs to reflect that,” says Davis Siksnans, CEO of Printful. (more…)

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The Brandable Insider: ThinkCart.com, Wealthio.com and Kantina.com

Right now Doron and I are attending NamesCon 2017 in sunny LasVegas and I’m posting this blog via telepathic artificial intelligence. Yea right! In case you’re not familiar with NamesCon, it’s one of the world’s largest domain name industry conferences and it features presentations by industry experts on a wide variety of relevant domaining topics. It’s also a unique opportunity to network, face-to-face, with the people we communicate with all year long via cyberspace. I’m sure we’ll both be writing about our respective NamesCon adventures next week.

In the meantime, let’s look at some interesting brandable sales, as reported by NameBio, recently:


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The Brandable Insider: Creating a List of Strong, Brandable Keywords

Several people have messaged me asking where they can find a list of strong, trendy, brandable keywords. The answer is everywhere and nowhere. No such list exists, that I know of, except in the toolbox of successful brandable domainers. It’s a list that’s subjective and evolves over time. It’s a list that no two domainers will agree on. It’s a list that comes from analysis, observation and experience. It’s the summation of hours spent at sites like NameBio, TechCrunch, DomainSherpa, AngelList, CrunchBase, BrandBucket, Startups-list and BrandRoot. Looking, analyzing, evaluating and deciding the relative value of each word. After a while it becomes intuitive. But in the beginning you need a written list.

For those that don’t have such a list, I’ll get you started. The way I’m going to do that is by showing you sample brands for existing startups in some of the most relevant technology niches of today. Not every keyword listed is a tier one brandable word. But most of them are. So get out your keyboard and create and refine your keyword list!

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The Brandable Insider: Failing at Domain Auctions

Success often starts with failure and I have failed many times this year. Some of my failures have been in auctions. There are many times I’ve bid and lost. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. It demonstrates my ability to limit my bidding and not go past my limit. Or as Mike Mann says: “If you beat me in the domain auction, congrats, you paid too much.” Well I’m not as cocky as Mike Mann but I do think disciplined limits when bidding is a good thing. Whether the person that outbid you “paid too much” or not is debatable. That depends on, if and when, and for how much they sell it.

On the other hand we’ve all had the experience of getting into a bidding war and letting our emotions run away with us. In those situations we go past our price limit and end up paying more than we thought the domain was worth. I’ve also had the experience where, in hindsight, I was too cheap and failed to step up and pay the price the domain was worth.

In looking back at recent auctions I see all of these scenarios at work.
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