How to Pick the Perfect Startup Name

The process of deciding on your startup’s name can be one of the most important yet challenging aspects in the early phase of establishing your business. The startup name will determine your trademark, how people identify what you do as well as which web domain you can register.

In fact, there isn’t any easy trick to pick a perfect startup name but following the right approach can significantly help you come up with a name that stands out, catches people’s attention, reveals the identity of the company and inspires people to remember it.

Here are some of the best tips to ensure you haven’t missed anything important in the process of naming your startup.


Picking your own (or other people’s) brain is the first step in choosing the right startup name. Jot down a list of words that would relate to your startup. At the same time, get your family members or friends write interesting words that align with the concept of your company.

- Find Literal Concepts

 The foundation of your name will be the root word, so it is advisable to start brainstorming by generating as many roots as possible. You can develop literal concepts that represent a basic element of your business. This can be the product category (music, sports, fashion) as well as the product function (sharing, discovery, tracking)

- Find Figurative Concepts

You can multiply your output by adding a list of roots to names, objects, moments, feelings, phrases that connote your core business.  Try to be as elusive and experimental as possible in your brainstorming to move beyond the obvious concepts.

Examples (considering a name for a travel startup):

·         Objects commonly associated with travel: baggage, passport, aviation, map, compass, fly.      

·         Feelings that travel elicits: happiness, joy, longing, excitement, pleasure.                                            

·         Phrases typically associated with travel: enjoy, have a nice trip, see you soon, bon voyage.

Create Word Permutations

Now that you have compiled a list with words linked to your product or service try to create compound words, combining two nouns or a noun and a verb and match them in such a way so as to have a rhythm (e.g.: GetAround, HoneyWell, AvidTourist, etc).  

Alternatively, you can make a portmanteau, namely combining two words by joining shared letters or sounds (e.g. Pinterest) or even add prefixes and suffixes. (e.g., Socialicious, Accesorize, etc)

On top of this, you can add numbers to your word to make it more interesting and memorable. The best names include a number that has logical relationship with the root of the word (e.g. Route66, Avenue 22)

Find Visual Inspiration

Nothing gives more inspiration for generating names for your startup than images. A keyword search on Google images, Pinterest or the e-commerce site Etsy is enough to tap into the vast database of high-quality images and draw inspiration and choose the right startup name.

Use Foreign Words

In addition to this, you may opt for choosing foreign words that are commonly used in English or strongly resemble their English counterpart to generate a concept. You may consider words from Latin-rooted languages (Italian, Spanish, French or Portuguese) or even Japanese, German, Hawaiian words.

Example: The word ‘travel’ translates to viajes (Spanish), viaggio (Italian), voyage (French). So you could come up with something like ‘Viaggiorama’.

You could spend endless hours thinking about the right name for your startup. Before making up your mind, make sure you review the words you brainstormed, consider how it sounds and whether it easily rolls off the tongue. Most of all make sure that you and your potential customers identify with the name so don’t hesitate to pitch it before choosing it. 




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