If you work at all with startups, you've probably noticed that most of them seem to have one-word names that look like they're misspelled versions of real words.
You know, like Tilr, Wyzerr or Stockpilz.
It wasn't always this way. In a slower-paced era, company names were longer and more descriptive. They told you who the owners were and what they did.
For example, look at this list of the oldest companies in the United States. You'll see names such as "Barker's Farm," "Towle Silversmiths," "Lorillard Tobacco Company" and "The New York Stock Exchange."
That naming trend continued for many years, until we started getting one-word names like "Apple." And then company names got stranger and stranger.
So then, you might wonder, what are the nine most oddly named startups in the Tri-State?
Glad you asked.
Here's an entirely subjective list, in no particular order:
This company sells interchangeable eyeglass frames and lenses, hence the name, which is pronounced "Frame-er-ee." For purposes of search-engine optimization, it's a lot better to have a unique name like this, rather than something like "The Frame Shop," founder Konrad Billetz said.
Here's a link Billetz provided about ways to name your company for SEO purposes.
Maybe it's just me, but I first thought this was pronounced "whizzer," like something that whizzes by. But it's "wiser," as in, "They're wiser than I."
As is the case with so many other startups, the founders wanted to use a real word as the company name, but the Internet domain for www.wise.com was taken. The Covington startup makes survey tools for businesses.
In a 2014 email to her staff, founder and CEO Natasia Malaihollo said she liked "Wyze" better than any other names they had come up with, and that a variant thereof "made logical sense in our space and for what we are trying to do."
It's pronounced "Tiller," as in the lever on a boat that's used to turn the rudder. The company is an online, on-demand marketplace for employers and job-seekers.
Management originally wanted to call the company Tiller, chief operating officer Summer Crenshaw said, but it would have cost $40,000 to buy www.tiller.com -- which now appears to be the website for a publishing platform.
Because they don't have much money, startups often have to settle for the name they can afford, not the name they want.
This one's a mashup of the words "Thrive" and "Era," so chosen because the company helps other companies thrive in a new era, said CEO and founder Marvin Abrinica. "We kind of liked the ring to it, too," he said.
ThrivEra helps startups design a brand so they can get funded and grow.
See if you can guess how this one's pronounced.
Not "Stock pills," but "Stockpiles," another company about paper, this one about selling the excess paper and other supplies your company leaves lying around.
It looks like a word in an Eastern European language, but it's pronounced "circle." The company tailors communications from companies to customers based on what customers actually read and are interested in.
Founder Tarek Kamil said he chose the name because communication can't be a one-way, linear process, but has to be circular, like a feedback loop.
Another name that looks like it means something in the Czech Republic -- it's pronounced "Next." The company is a task-management tool for real estate agents.
The founder, Cincinnati Realtor Brett Keppler, said he wanted to suggest the word "next" because the company's all about answering the question, "What do I do next?"
This one also looks like a word from a foreign language because it is based on a word from a foreign language: enosi, a Greek word meaning "simplify/unify," according to founder/CEO Gerald Schlechter. The "X" stands for experience.
The company unites the software of two popular business vendors, Salesforce.com and SAP.
That makes nine oddly named startups, but we'll add an honorable mention for DogBerry Brewing, the name of a West Chester brewery that is more descriptive than that of most startups. I particularly love how they came up with DogBerry: It's a mashup of the streets where the owners live, Twinberry and Dogleg.
And it sounded better than TwinLeg.