What's in a name? These 5 Chicago startups share the meaning behind their names

July 16, 2015

Deciding how to pick a name for your startup is a critical and crucial endeavor. You need something memorable and something flashy—something that highlights both your work and your culture. At the end of the day, your company's name becomes the epicenter of its entire identity. Listen up as these 5 Chicago startups with awesome names detail the even more awesome ways they came up with them. 


BucketFeet: Bucket was a nickname in college. 

"The name BucketFeet came about because Bucket was my nickname in college," said BucketFeet co-founder and Chief Artist, Aaron Firestein. "However, when we received our first shipment of shoes to our house in Chicago (because our first office was the house we rented in Ukranian Village), we went to unload the semi-truck with a couple friends and noticed the cartons were labeled 'BurcketFeet' - with an 'R'! My co-founder and I stared at them for a while, and then at each other, and silently walked a couple cartons into our living room. Almost simultaneously we said if the shoes and the shoe boxes also have the wrong name on them, we’d just have to change the name of the company. We had literally spent all of our money on these shoes. LUCKILY, they had the right name and we were able to be BucketFeet. We were almost finished before we started."



Managed by Q: Q was originally a reference to James Bond. 

"Managed by Q's name was originally a reference to the mastermind behind James Bond's weaponry, gadgets, and tech-enabled gear," said co-founder and CPO Saman Rahmanian. "He's the character responsible for giving Bond the seemingly superhuman powers he’s known for. We wanted our offices to be managed by Q — we provide them with a similar set of superpowers, building technology that enables offices to focus on their business, not on running their workspace. Today, Q is much more than a film reference; it has come to stand for the values that the company embodies and the driving force behind the team’s hard work every day. Just as Q helped Bond operate more smoothly and efficiently, Managed by Q does the same for offices."


Punchkick Interactive: They needed something punchy—something with some kick. 

"When the company was founded in 2006, Punchkick’s co-founders knew they needed a name that was impossible to forget," said Amelia Baer, Punchkick's marketing lead. "As they began to spitball ideas, they realized that many of the names they liked had domains that were already taken. Both avid video gamers, they kept repeating 'we need something punchy, something with some kick.' The natural connection between punch and kick was a no-brainier. And so, Punchkick was born—almost miraculously, the domain was available. Punchkick Interactive is a name that's easily remembered, and perhaps most importantly, it's a perfect fit for the take-charge energy fueling our team." 



SteelBrick: They used a home-made Excel name generator. 

"Max Rudman, the Founder and CTO of SteelBrick, was working as a software engineer and Salesforce consultant and had developed a Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software app," said SteelBrick's Chief Marketing Officer, Will Wiegler. "The software was well received by his clients and he saw the potential to build a company around the product. As with all start-ups, Max needed to come up with a name for his new company. Using his logical, engineered approach, Max put together an Excel spreadsheet with a list of adjectives in one column, nouns in another and a macro that generated every possible combination, which made it easy to copy and paste into a mass domain name checker. The SteelBrick name was generated in this way, was available as a dot com, and reflected the qualities of strength, robustness, and power that Max wanted to elicit with his new company and its CPQ application. And the rest, as they say, is history."


Yello: "Yello!" was how the CEO used to answer his phone. 

“We had been in too many meetings where the name RECSOLU was the first 10-15 minutes of conversation, and yet it was still butchered badly,” said Yello CEO Jason Weingarten. “At the same time, we saw a huge jump in business for customers using our professional TRM (talent relationship management) solution and realized we had outgrown our campus-focused name. Early this year we contracted an agency that specializes in rebranding and went through many exercises and interviews. Throughout the process, a theme emerged around engaging candidates and personalizing corporations. After weeks of debate, Yello was born. It was so creative, yet simple. For years, every time I picked up the phone from a close friend or family member, I said ‘Yello!' The agency gave us a number of logo options and color themes that we spent a lot of time reviewing and testing. It was important to make sure that the name was focused on the play of the word “Hello” and not the color 'Yellow' so when we decided on the logo, you’ll notice that the 'y' is actually an upside down 'h.' How cool is that upside down h?? So money! Furthermore, we selected the blue color because it was far away on the spectrum from the yellow color. Similar to a maiden name, Recsolu has entered a new chapter in our life as Yello.”

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