Founder Perspectives: Changing Your Company Name

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It’s not atypical for early-stage companies to change their names once or even a few times until they get it right. If all goes well, it’s done before a great amount of brand equity is built.

We asked a few True community Founders whose companies have undergone name changes to share why they did it, what that process was like and what advice they have for other startup Founders who may need to do the same.

“In 2014, we changed our company name from Ovelin to Yousician when we launched our newest product with the same name (Yousician). Much like typical game studios would do, Ovelin was only the company name, while our products had different names, in our case GuitarBots.

“We decided to build one platform where we could unite all musicians and therefore wanted a name that would sound musical but not tied to any specific instrument. It was a good moment to change with the introduction of our new product, and while the transition seemed smooth for us and the users, some people still refer to us as ‘Yousician, the Ovelin guys’ in the startup ecosystem.

“I think the fact that the team really loved the new name helped us a lot. The overall feedback was positive. My best advice is to make sure to have all branding assets ready when you announce and try to replace old things as good as you can as to not confuse users, job applicants and others.”

– Chris Thür, Co-founder and CEO of Yousician (Helsinki, Finland)

“The first step, as the cliché goes, is admitting you have a problem. Before we were Duo, we called ourselves Scio Security, which had local significance. (We had already named a previous company Arbor Networks after Ann Arbor, Michigan.) It was certainly unique, but was nearly impossible to spell, pronounce or remember correctly – and most importantly, it gave zero indication of what we were about.

“Our creative director emphasized that if clarity and ease of use were paramount to our brand and product, our name should reflect those values. While discussing our philosophy and background in security, we kept coming back to dualities: the yin and yang, attacker versus defender, white hat versus black hat, and security versus usability. As that duality informs everything we do, the name Duo was a natural fit. And it also happened to reflect what our first product does: two-factor authentication.”

– Dug Song, Co-founder and CEO of Duo (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Thanks, Chris and Dug, for sharing.


Originally published in True Insights, True’s community newsletter.