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Study shows 41 percent of venture-funded startups have invented names—nearly triple that of other high growth companies

October 21, 2015

by Amanda Baum

Head of Product at

Company Name Types 2015Data from Clutch shows a movement towards more inventive company names in response to domain and trademark limitations

WASHINGTON, October 21st, 2015 – Forty-one percent of newer, venture-funded startups have invented names, almost three times the amount of invented names in comparison to other, high growth companies, according to a new study from Clutch, the leading source of ratings and reviews on naming and branding agencies. While some branding experts see invented names as a domain and trademark opportunity, others in Clutch’s study warn against them.

“There are certain benefits to invented names. Often you can find more white space, and you will find from a legal perspective that coining names is easier than leveraging real words, because you are creating something entirely new,” explains Scott Milano, owner and managing director of naming and branding firm Tanj. “A coined name can function as an empty vessel – there is no attached meaning to it because it’s not rooted in anything that we know to date. As a brand, you can fill the name with meaning.”

The influx of invented names could be in response to the desire for a dot-com domain extension. Clutch’s data showed that 88 percent of the startups have dot-com domain names. However, with various alternate domain options, some emphasize that a company should instead focus on developing a strong, memorable name for their brand.

“We advise companies all the time not to let domain names dictate their choice of names,” explains Jay Jurisich, the founder and CEO of brand naming agency Zinzin. “It's far better to have a great brand name with a modified domain name, or a non dot-com top-level domain, than a weak name with an exact-match domain… The brand name should always have priority over the domain name.” 

The report touches on the future of company naming and domain name acquisition, while also providing insight into the attributes that make a company name successful.

The data comes from an analysis of 700 companies. Clutch compared naming and domain name data from two groups:

  • 350 companies founded prior to 2012 from the 2015 Inc. 500 list
  • 350 startups founded in or after 2012, with at least $3 million venture funding, from the CrunchBase database.

The full study and article can be found at:  


Amanda Soderlund

(202) 568-6478

[email protected]

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