For any business, the proposition of rebranding is a daunting task. Whether it be to clarify what the company does or to redefine the company’s goals, changing names often comes with a ton of risk. These four LA-based startups told us why the switch was worth it, and what they learned along the way.
Ampsy, formerly known as Fliptu, had been considering a rebrand when they received a bit of bad news. According to Founder & CEO Jeremy Gocke, the quick actions of the founders, combined with a huge partnership, helped the startup make the best of the rebrand without any growing pains.
What prompted the name change?
We like to think that the startup gods sent us a sign that it was time to change our name. We had recently pivoted the product, and the existing name (Fliptu) no longer “felt” right. However, we had received a lot of press under the Fliptu moniker, had solid indexing in Google and had really started to see some brand recognition in our space. So, changing the name didn’t make a lot of sense from a practical standpoint.
No more than a week later, we were notified by another company that we were allegedly infringing on their trademark to the name. Our law firm advised us it would be a lengthy and costly battle with no better odds than 50-50 of emerging victorious. In that moment, we decided to change the name, and had a plan to announce the new name to the world in the coming weeks. Fortunately for us, our recent partnership with IBM Watson was being announced by IBM in less than two weeks. We began with a list of around 100 names and over the course of a week, narrowed that down to three names with available domain names and clear trademark. Ampsy was the clear leader early on in the process. We purchased the domain name, filed for the trademark and designed the new logo over the following week in time for IBM’s worldwide press release announcing the partnership.
What was the reaction at the time of the change?
Everyone was thrilled with the new name. Our investors were happy that we made the best of a tough situation and actually increased our exposure and value.
How has the change affected business?
The name better represents our product and brand. It’s catchy and easy to remember. Our team is more confident evangelizing the brand in the marketplace. Our clients have also complemented us on the change. All of this solidified our identity in the marketplace and was the beginning of a new, upward trajectory for the business.
What advice would you give to tech companies looking to change their name?
Ensure all employees, investors and key partners are aware of the pending change. That doesn’t mean get everyone’s buy-in on the new name, but give them the “no surprises” advance warning. Invest in proper legal search and filing around the new trademark. Think very hard about the marketing plan around introducing the new name, and line it up with a major event or other press-worthy news.
Read about the other rebrands on Built in Los Angeles.