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Startup Names + The Stories Behind Them

How do startups come up with a name? What are the stories behind them? 

And perhaps most importantly, how can you come up with a good name for your startup?  

To help inspire and educate entrepreneurs about business naming conventions, we asked founders and early-stage employees about the stories behind their startup names. From honoring clients to naming a company after a famous numerologist, there are several stories that may help you capture the perfect name for your startup.

Here are 11 startup names and the stories behind them:

  • Smallwave Marketing
  • Andar
  • Epic Book Society
  • Shipyard
  • PCSgrades
  • Tuesday At 10:30
  • CLARAfi
  • Pink Wafer
  • DeckLinks
  • Dreammaker

Smallwave Marketing

We chose our name, Smallwave Marketing, to truly honor our clients. When it comes to marketing, long term impact will not be felt overnight. Solid marketing takes time to build, but strong results will come with consistency, understanding, and hard work. This is similar to little ripples in the water or small waves. One little ripple will not make a big difference, but waves that build up over time will make a noticeable impact.

Audrey Hutnick, Smallwave Marketing


Andar is the Spanish verb “to carry.” After living in South America, we gained a deep love and understanding of the cultures, leading to the name. We craft unique products that help you minimize and organize what you carry every day. These are the things you bring with you everywhere, and it’s important to feel good and carry with purpose. We love creating products that give you simplicity and aesthetic, making life easier.

Eric Elggren, Andar

Epic Book Society

I started Epic Book Society in January 2022. I wanted to create a book blog that is collaborative and interactive. To be a place where other book bloggers can share ideas on my site, and for book lovers who find my site to feel they can openly engage and interact with me and other book lovers. This is why I chose ‘book society’ as the name, as it tells anyone who comes to my site that they are part of a community with one thing in common – a love of books. 

In every post I write, I follow my brand message by asking my readers to interact and share their ideas. It’s important when choosing startup names that you choose it based on your mission and follow through with it. Book Society was of course taken as a domain, so I chose to add Epic because it’s a word with two meanings – a long form novel and something amazing. I wanted something that people will remember and also a play on words. I feel my brand name is quite memorable and successfully explains my blog’s mission in three words.

Louisa Smith, Epic Book Society


When building out a data orchestration platform, we knew that we had a complex product that would be difficult for non-technical users to understand. Terms like tasks, executions, operators, jobs, logging, and DAGs littered the space. Our goal was to find a real world element that could help others intuitively realize how the platform worked.

With Shipyard, you build Vessels – individual scripts that can come in all shapes and sizes. If you want to build the same Vessel repeatedly, you can use a Blueprint (or make your own). If you want multiple Vessels to work together to accomplish a larger goal, they form a Fleet. When you launch Vessels or Fleets, they go on a Voyage. If something goes wrong during a Voyage, Guardrails will help “right the ship” by retrying. When a Voyage completes, everything that happened during the Voyage is recorded as a Log. With that simple explanation, most people will inherently understand the basics of how everything in our platform connects together.

Blake Burch, Shipyard


TOOTRiS is the name of our tech company that is integrating the Child Care ecosystem. The name derives from the French word “Tutrice”, which means tutor, guardian, protector. With many child care providers helping to educate our children, and our role in helping parents connect to them, it’s the perfect fit.

Kevin Ehlinger, TOOTRiS


Todd Ernst started PCSgrades as an online platform to support the biggest relocation needs of military members, veterans, and military spouses through trusted community insights and access to the best real estate resources. 

The name “PCSgrades” comes from the military term for a move, a “permanent change of station,” or PCS. The “grades” represents our commitment to providing trusted reviews of all things moving and real estate, written by the military community for the military community.

Becca Stewart, PCSgrades

Tuesday At 10:30

When I reached the glass ceiling at my first company, I started interviewing and landing endless career opportunities. My friends took notice and asked me to assist them with their career journey. I suggested recommendations on how to improve their resume, coached them on interview techniques and gave them the secrets on how to maximize career fairs. 

The end results? They got offers. 

Seven years later, my close friend mentioned to me that I need to start a company. I once heard, if you do something for free, it’s your passion and you will never feel like you are working a day of your life. I would get calls all the time from people with issues at work. I was once called the Oliva Pope of career services. I was preparing for an interview and ran across an article in Forbes Magazine, “Surprising Job Interview Tips,”  that the right time to interview for a job is Tuesday at 10:30, and that was the beginning of my startup. 

TK Morgan, Tuesday At 1030


CLARAfi was born out of the want to create something disarming and clever, and so we landed on the name after some back and forth along with some vision play where we talked about our company of the future. CLARAfi is a Software-as-a-Service platform that handles communication between small business owners and their advisory teams. The platform was built around some of the same concepts that blockchain is hoping to bring to the masses, decentralized services and data with immutable and trustworthy information.

When we set out to build CLARAfi we wanted to create an ecosystem of trust that was meant for more than storing data, we wanted it to become a game-changer in the way we operate proactively together. C.L.A.R.A.f.i. stands for: Chain Ledger Allowing Realtime Advice for individuals, industries, and institutions. The only way we become better is through trust and partnership and we hope that CLARAfi can help to create that future.

Adam Griggs, CLARAfi

Pink Wafer

This is a totally ridiculous story, but I named my music events and publishing brand ‘Pink Wafer’ after pink wafer biscuits. I used to be in a band that were obsessed with these biscuits, to the point that we handed them out at gigs. We eventually stopped pursuing things with the band, but the memory lives on through the Pink Wafer brand, which is all about music. The domain for the site is, so I also get people referring to the company as ‘Pink Wafer Club’ which is quite fun.

Michael Sandford, Pink Wafer


So, when we came up with the name DeckLinks, we were in the middle of a product pivot from our media marketplace Briefbid. We knew we liked literal compound words as company names for our product. 

Briefbid is the combination of “Brief”, the work order form in the media industry provided by media-buyers, and “bid”, the process of media-sellers proposing advertising placements to fulfill the work order. And thus, Briefbid was born, and we knew we liked compound names.  

When we pivoted to our current product “DeckLinks” – software that converts static presentations to interactive video sales decks – we took two words that our prospects consistently say. “Can you send me a link to your deck?” or “Do you have a deck I can look at?” With these two questions, we tried to define the entire functionality of our product in a single word, so “link to a deck” became a “deck link”, and “DeckLinks” was born.

Adam Casole-Buchanan, DeckLinks


The Dreammaker name was selected by a famous numerologist. According to the numerologist, the numbers add up to 44 in Expression. 4 is all about the builder, which is a powerful vibration to build, and get things done. Double fours means Manifestation. Nature is the vibration of 44. 4+4 becomes 8, which means transformation. Together it becomes “building transformed manifestation”. Which is precisely what the company offers. 

Petri Maatta, DreamMaker

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