Weird startup names of 2014

Originally published Jan 5, 2015

The Name Inspector has been reflecting on last year’s startup names while sipping on what’s left of the apple peel bourbon he made for the holidays. He’s got to say, it seems like some of these companies were named by people who sipped lots of bourbon. Here are some weird names of startups in CrunchBase that were founded in 2014.

Surprising associations

We begin with Rotten WiFiRotten is not a word you expect to find in a company name. This one makes more sense when you learn that the company mission is to enable people to evaluate wifi hotspots. But still.

Then there’s the Australian startup Forking About. Does that sound in Australian English as bad as The Name Inspector thinks it sounds in American English? And what about the UK tool for identifying and promoting talented individuals called AssessUp? Let’s hope that one doesn’t go arse up.

Lest we get too cocky, we have our share of crazy names on our side of the Atlantic (and the Pacific) as well. Entangled Ventures, a San Francisco “Education Technology Studio”, brings to mind hopelessly complicated and unwanted connections.  Anonymess, a messaging app based in Malibu, picks the wrong way to abbreviate messageiSlumped, a Silicon Valley startup, allows you to “express your failures socially”. California, man.

The Name Inspector cuts more slack for names from countries where they speak other languages. Maybe at home the names have great associations, but here they don’t translate so well. The Turkish app Whese let’s you see what your friends are doing, but might leave hypochondriacs struggling for breath. And the Indian ebook platform Spayee might have your female pets running for the hills.

Crazy phrases

Names that are funny word combinations always capture The Name Inspector’s attention, even (or maybe especially) when they’re quite descriptive. For example: 

  • Sweaty Equity
  • Giraffe Friend
  • Tooth Diary
  • Wealthy Gorilla
  • Pet Jellyfish.

That last company sells pet jellyfish.

Alien language

No survey of name weirdness would be complete without names that seem to be spoken by extraterrestrials with inscrutable vocal tracts.

Zurff flynx zairge sqwiz xwerks synthorx phizzbo, humans!”

Magical incantations

Oblico Stockbo Recommendo DrinkSendo!

Did you get your bourbon?

Dumb spelling

Some names look like they were spelled by Pippi Longstocking (who might be described as an intuitive speller): 

  • Naytev
  • Reconiz
  • Buxoff
  • GozAround
  • Skemaz
  • Naborly

Some names bring on a severe case of vowel overload:

  • KeeeWeee
  • Priime
  • Bluurp
  • Huudle
  • Blizuu
  • Phiinom
  • Jooicer
  • Schooold
  • Braandi.

With other names, it’s all about the consonants: 

  • Stepsss
  • Nurss
  • Streammer

Funky grammar

The Name Inspector takes a special interest in names that funkify grammar. Audienced turns a noun into a past participle. Bright Simply seems to modify an adverb with an adjective. Aroundish takes a suffix that normally goes on adjectives (warmish) or nouns (bookish) and puts it on a preposition (or maybe a particle), where no suffix has any business being.

Strained blends and wordplay

That brings us to The Name Inspector’s favorite kind of least favorite name, the infelicitous blend. Not all these blends are examples of awkwordplay in the (ahem) technical sense, but they all really clunk:

  • Houseterant (house + restaurant)
  • Searchperience (search + experience)
  • Songvice (song + advice)
  • Chaptures(chapters + captures)
  • Simpolfy (simplify + pol(itics))
  • Simplitial (simplicity + ??)
  • ClickGanic (click + organic)
  • Emjoyment (employment + enjoyment)
  • NamastHey (namaste + hey) (so bad it’s good?)

And now the bourbon is gone and our tour of last year’s startup naming weirdness must come to an end. Let’s all try to keep our wits about us in 2015, shall we?

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