Y Combinator-backed Startup FilePicker.io Raises $1.8M And Rebrands As InkFilePicker.com

It happens all the time, a startup raises funding and decides to put some of their raise towards a stronger domain name. However, in other cases they just change the name because after raising a round they are ready to brand under a different name. That is the case with FilePicker.io who announced today that they are rebranding as Ink File Picker and moving to InkFilePicker.com.

Ink File Picker Site

The founder and CEO, Brett van Zuiden told TechCrunch,

stands for something much larger than the former, more product-focused title (source – TechCrunch)

The domain name InkFilePicker.com was hand-registered on June 7th and the company is branding itself as Ink. While some domain owners might say, “They should have bought Ink.com!” That actually isn’t going to hurt them at all in this case. Ink.com is being used by the Flint Group and anyone who accidentally does go to Ink.com will instantly see they are on the wrong site and probably go to Google and type “ink file picker” since that’s what the company does and owning the exact-match .COM they’ll be right there at the top.

While a domain broker might try to convince a startup like this to go for Ink.com, I think they’re spending their funding dollars very wisely. Even if Ink.com were for sale it would be at least $500K but probably more and spending 25%-50% of their funding on a domain doesn’t make any sense.

They already have customers, they have funding, and they have a team that can execute. Now they have a domain that they paid less than $10 and the ability to call themselves Ink. Remember, for a startup the secret sauce is building a great team that can execute on a great idea, with $1.8M in funding I am sure Ink will continue to rock it. Congrats to the whole team on the rebranding!

{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Louise June 18, 2013, 11:10 am

    May 2013 was the month of the io extension, with Google UK Trend Analyst Pierre Far saying .io is one of his favorite extensions, Player.io being sold to Yahoo! and Kickfolio rebranding to App.io, among other .io funding news I wrote about on EmergingDomains. I almost prefer the dot io name, as it is up and coming and has a nice ring: .io extension, or nameio.com.

    Reply
  • todd June 18, 2013, 11:26 am

    “I think they’re spending their funding dollars very wisely. ”

    Are you serious? You sell domains for a living and you condone them registering a terrible name for 10 bucks. 1.8 million in funding and rebranding from filepicker.io (a ridiculous extension) and then adding an extra word to their new domain and then rebranding as a totally different name. I agree with you on not buying Ink.com, they don’t need a name like that but they should have spent at least 10-25k of the 1.8m and got a decent name. With that much funding they could have easily spent 100k with no worries. I think this should be a case study on what NOT to do when you get funding.

    Reply
  • Louise June 18, 2013, 11:46 am

    @ Todd said: “filepicker.io (a ridiculous extension)”
    When:
    Yahoo! buys Player.io
    App.io receives $1,000,000 in funding
    Vigour.io receives $650,000 in funding
    Google approves .io as an extension
    FilePicker.io receives $1,800,000 in funding
    io.com names sell briskly
    Nic.io Registrar positions itself as, “the domain powering the next generation of social websites,” smartly capitalizing on the new gTLD movement which has yet to see the light of day, I can’t understand why you would out of hand dismiss the dot io extension as one that imparts seriousness and authority, same as dot me, same as dot tv.

    Reply
  • Morgan June 18, 2013, 12:03 pm

    @Todd – appreciate your comment my friend but I don’t sell domains for a living, I help startups acquire domains. I always look for what is best for the company, not what will make some domain owner a lot of money. My full time job is as the CTO of Fashion Metric and I can tell you that as a startup founder I understand first-hand how important it is to spend your funding wisely.

    This was a great rebranding and I can tell you the founding team and investors know exactly what they are doing here.

    Reply
  • Morgan June 18, 2013, 12:10 pm

    Also excellent points @Louise – anyone that works with startups knows that .IO is hotter than ever right now. Go to TechCrunch Disrupt, the biggest conference in the startup world and you’ll see LOTS of .IO’s.

    Reply
  • Louise June 18, 2013, 12:25 pm

    The first page of search results yielded these .io names:

    Drop.io
    Nitrous.io
    Action.io
    Tuition.io
    Segment.io
    Appery.io
    Dosi.io
    Wise.io
    Ginger.io
    Orchestrate.io
    Staq.io

    They’re not even all short brandable, which I think is the main appeal of .io or io.com extension!

    Reply
  • todd June 18, 2013, 1:40 pm

    I would love to hear what a real branding professional such as Frager thinks about this rebranding.

    Reply
  • Morgan June 18, 2013, 1:44 pm

    @todd – I’ll tell you that Andreessen Horowitz and Highland Capital are some of the most respected people on the planet when it comes to helping startups with rebranding. This would not have happened without them thinking it made good common sense.

    Take a look at some of the companies Andreessen has funded, they are some of the most successful and best-branded companies on the planet.

    That being said, you are of course entitled to your opinion. There is no right and wrong here and I really do appreciate you chiming in.

    You are always welcome to comment and share your opinions here anytime! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Raymond June 18, 2013, 5:33 pm

    It reminds me of an email I received.

    A guy introduced himself that he was looking for a domain name for his StartUp. He wanted to buy Cloudcafe.CO from me for $100……a lean budget……..

    Reply
  • Morgan June 18, 2013, 5:47 pm

    I’ve seen $100 offers turn into $250,000 offers…happened last year, you never know what someone’s real budget is, just their opening offer. Of course if they held at $100 then you know but most startups don’t know where to start so they often begin low.

    It’s really two different worlds. There are people with six-figure domains that couldn’t raise $1.8M to save their lives and people that can raise millions of dollars but don’t want to spend six-figures on a domain name.

    Of course there are plenty of people in between and I’ve worked with startups whose budgets are as low as $50 and as high as $1M. At the end of the day I just love seeing awesome passionate people build amazing companies.

    Startups with lower budgets will often have to go with their 3rd or 4th choice domain which might be fine. The higher the budget typically the more likely they are to get their first choice.

    Reply
  • Brett van Zuiden June 18, 2013, 7:17 pm

    Great discussion indeed! I just wanted to weigh in and give some context from the Ink side of things.

    A “.io” name was a good way for us to start, and in fact bought us some credibility with developers at an early stage (because they got the “I/O” reference, which was particularly applicable to us). On the other hand, it also carried with it a number of frustrations – the .io TLD is not the most reliable (had a TLD-wide outage because their nameservers went down for 30 minutes), affects SEO, and results in a lot of mispronunciations – Filepicker vs Filepicker.io, for instance.

    In changing the name to Ink, we wanted to go with a .com. We would have loved to get Ink.com, but we’ll be patient. Instead, we got Inkmobility.com, which speaks to the mobility of content that we want to encourage and also the increasingly mobile-based world we live in. Inkmobility.com is the current and future home of the company online. We made the decision to move the Filepicker.io product to inkfilepicker.com, so as to help reduce confusion with the name change, but will progressively move more and more assets (documentation, portal, copy) onto the inkmobility.com page as we move forward.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 18, 2013, 7:35 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment @Brett and for sharing a few more details about the name change. Congrats on the funding and the rebranding, looking forward to seeing all the exciting things you guys do going forward! If you’re ever in Silicon Beach (LA) let me know and the first beer is on me πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Louise June 18, 2013, 8:27 pm

    InkMobility – there’s a name – I like!!! πŸ™‚ It’s descriptive, short, and memorable.

    However, I think it is smart you keep FilePicker.io live, as inbound links likely still land there.

    Maybe you should just keep it live forever. There is no harm. Many companies enjoy inbound links from generic keyword domain sites, which lead like tentacles of an octopus to its body to the brandable homepage.

    It’s dicey to risk squandering the inbound links from articles, websites, and directories. For branding purposes, you should keep the minor sites live.

    Reply
  • Alan Dodd June 19, 2013, 3:29 am

    I love these .io’s, esp if they are one syllable followed by the io. I think two syllables followed by .io can work but it’s a bit tougher.

    Also, what about a .io and .com combo, such as workio.com, or for the example here, inkio.com? Love it! I sold coupio.com quite cheap earlier this year and I really regret it!!

    Reply
  • todd June 19, 2013, 10:19 am

    “On the other hand, it also carried with it a number of frustrations – the .io TLD is not the most reliable (had a TLD-wide outage because their nameservers went down for 30 minutes), affects SEO, and results in a lot of mispronunciations – Filepicker vs Filepicker.io, for instance.”

    It was great that Brett one of the founders was able to chime in on this discussion. Like I said .IO is a ridiculous extension and he basically as proven this.

    “We made the decision to move the Filepicker.io product to inkfilepicker.com, so as to help reduce confusion with the name change, but will progressively move more and more assets (documentation, portal, copy) onto the inkmobility.com page as we move forward.”

    You said this was a great rebranding but like I said it was a very bad case of rebranding and that is why their real domain is going to be InkMobility.com. Thank you for the private email also telling me you have 5 years of experience rebranding startups I didn’t realize that.

    “@Todd – appreciate your comment my friend but I don’t sell domains for a living, I help startups acquire domains.”

    So when you help startups acquire domain names you don’t get paid? Because if you get paid then you are selling domains for a living.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 19, 2013, 10:46 am

      @Todd – my full time job is as the CTO of Fashion Metric, I haven’t worked day-to-day in Domain Investing since October of last year. In most cases when I help a startup acquire a domain name I don’t make a dime. My domain investment company, Linton Investments is running strong but I serve as an adviser and don’t work in daily operations any more.

      That being said I do have some awesome salespeople that work for both Linton Investments and Compath that do sell names from my portfolio so you are correct that I do make money from domains that are sold, I just don’t do the selling myself.

      Thanks again for your comments Todd, keep em’ coming!

      Reply
  • Louise June 19, 2013, 4:57 pm

    @ Alan, Coupio.com – great domain! But the io.coms are crazy right now. Ever since I published my article on EmergingDomains, which includes a mention of Coupio.com, it seems like all the good nameio.com domains are taken! Not even indexed by Google, it means they must have just been registered . . . Maybe Verisign creates software to reserve all the best ones!

    Also on Crunchbase:
    Fusionio.com
    Chartio.com

    and in the news today:
    rdio.com
    vdio.com <== responsive theme.

    @ Morgan, what happened to the nice responsive theme you built with?

    Reply

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