Building a great startup name

Naming can be a complicated issue - nothing ever sounds good enough, or everything sounds good enough.  It’s one of the things, other than the founding team, that can have a legacy as long as the company is existent.  To resolve this issue as quickly, effectively, and thoroughly as possible, we used the following structure to get to our name - the travelst:

- What does the company do?: the one thing we keep on asking ourselves is always - “what’s the objective?”.  Our startup seeks to disrupt the way customers experience online travel.  Done.

- What were best practices?: an article from Fast Company provided some context, but it wasn’t enough.  Also ran into this a while back, which has some good resources.

- What were our inspirations?: We enjoyed the name and blog The Sartorialist, and liked the slight English formality from the name Mr. Porter.  Notice how we didn’t necessarily stick with travel inspirations; it’s important to take in outside references.

- What are words and phrases common in the chosen industry?: We started brainstorming terms that related closely to travel, and using a combination of Google Translate (to find foreign terms) and a trusty Thesaurus, we produced something akin to an issue tree to brainstorm effectively.  We also heard that this visual dictionary is a good resource.

Once we had narrowed a list of options of names to say 6-10, we plugged them through online tools including Domainr and Namechecklist (thanks Beng-Fei!)  This validated whether the names were still available on the market, and if not, how we could tweak the names (taking/adding vowels like, for example).  Another tool worth tracking is Domainsbot, which aggregates various naming websites together.

The last step we consciously wanted to take was to vet our name with our Facebook community.  We believe in building an organization socially, and know that the community may know more than us, which they very well did.  It was a good thing we asked them, because Raoul Bostrom, Varun Dinodiya, and Aki Sakamoto all come up with new ideas that ultimately made the idea better.

After votes were counted, we settled on what our community had suggested.  It felt right.

the travelst.

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