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SXSW Interactive 2013

When Bad Names Happen to Good Startups

Multiple Zs tacked onto the ends of words, missing vowels, strange URLs. Each aspect of the weird-startup-name phenomenon points to a widespread challenge of launching a startup:

Naming is hard.

It's also insanely important. Identifying a name that fully captures your startup's narrative and inspires a spark of desire in your target will be one of the most taxing struggles you'll face as a founder (if not, you're probably doing it wrong).

Using case studies from 3 of the startups we've named, we'll explain our proven process for generating killer startup names, including the 5 types of names, the 5 crucial criteria for evaluating a name, why your URL doesn't really matter, and more.

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Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What are the 5 types of names startups should consider?
  2. What are the 5 questions to ask yourself before naming your startup brand?
  3. Why should you wait til later to worry about your URL?
  4. Why should startups think about trademarking their name from day one?
  5. What do successful startup names have in common?


  • Justin Dobbs, Associate Creative Director and Senior Copywriter, archer>malmo
  • Gary Backaus, Chief Creative Officer, Principal, archer>malmo


Patrick Woods, Director, a>m ventures

Meta Information:

  • Tags: branding, startups, marketing
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Entrepreneurialism and Business
  • Level: Intermediate
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