Charged Up: Please stop with the ridiculous startup names

Things are getting silly now
Charged Up: Bad startup names
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Naming things is bloody difficult. It took us multiple days to name this opinion column Charged Up, months to settle on a name for our new sister smart home site The Ambient.

The rest of this piece will also be pretty damn hypocritical because people still mispronounce the name of this site - Wareable. It's apparently a play on 'software/hardware' and 'wearable' and pronounced like 'wearable'. (Then again, whatever, I didn't name it).

Read this: Ten futuristic wearable tech ideas

And when it comes to naming a technology startup, it's tricky. Big companies hoard the copyright on all sorts of snappy words and phrases, there's ten new rival startups a minute, all the social media handles and domain names are gone. I get it. It's getting more and more difficult so the problem's getting worse.

Just. Startup names with no vowels or capital letters in odd places are not the answer. If a potential buyer, crowdfunder or humble tech journalist can't pronounce or easily remember the name of your company, you're in trouble when it comes to hype.

A short list of great startups with terrible names - our 20 hottest wearable tech startups for 2018 and regular Crowdfund This series are both full of them:

  • HeartBit ECG smart clothing (we get it, like Fitbit but no)
  • Bcon wearable controller (does not compute)
  • QSun UV sensing wearable (relies on capital letters)
  • MyKronoz hybrid smartwatches (sigh)
  • zGlue DIY wearable platform (enough with the z's)
  • Tobii eye tracking (this one has always got on my nerves)
  • SweetzPot breath tracking chest strap (WTF?)
  • Xensr sports sensors (a lot going on here)
  • Zwift virtual running and cycling platform (World War Z)
  • Sgnl bone conduction smart band (hero product, zero name)
  • Sleepon Go2Sleep smart ring (no words)
  • LifeBEAM AI powered hearable (crimes against capitalisation)

I could go on. But let's not be completely unhelpful.

Here's my advice via a few tech startup naming tips and tricks:

  • Stick 'Labs' onto the end. It sounds cool and hey, it worked for Waverly Labs, Doppler Labs, Alpha Labs, LET Labs, SleepScore Labs, Performance Labs, Plume Labs etc.
  • Ditto 'Wearables' though a bit more long-winded. See: Leaf Wearables, Coros Wearables, Solos Wearables
  • Find two short-ish words and combine them, be a poet. See: Magic Leap, Wearable Experiments, DreamGlass, AliveCor
  • If you get rid of a vowel or use crazy letters, make sure there's only one way you could pronounce it: Stryd, Embr Labs, Xenxo, Phlex
  • Just keep going in pursuit of a cool new word: Ava, Whoop, Blocks, Motiv, Kronaby, Amphibio, Strava, Rebble, Zepp, Bragi
  • And remember, no-one gives a toss that you want the fourth letter in your name to be capitalised, you'll end up with every variation apart from the correct one. You're not Apple.

Finally, maybe we need an amnesty on intellectual property, URLs and Twitter handles. Big company and not using a decent name? Give it away, for everyone's sanity please. Set it free. The press releases will be so much more pleasing on the eye when you eventually acquire them.


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