The Program

TechStars Blog

23rd September 2013

Techstars Acquires NameLayer to Bring Premium Domain Names to its Portfolio

To bolster our lineup of resources for its own startups, Techstars has acquired the entire portfolio of NameLayer, a popular inventory of brandable domain names curated for the tech market.

NameLayer was founded by Julian Shapiro and Edward Zeiden in 2011 as the commercialization of Shapiro’s domain aftermarket algorithms that were designed to find the needles in the domain market haystack. Some notable domains from its inventory include SocialBond.com, NetworkGraph.com, PayMethod.com, ZenSale.com, PayPlatform.com, and CoLend.com.

Startups face ever-increasing challenges when trying to find good names. NameLayer’s Julian Shapiro explains, “Domain names are a scarce resource, the prices for which are determined by the whims of oftentimes hard-to-reach domain owners hoping for big paydays. Consequently, in the digital age, company names are no longer truly chosen; instead, they are the byproduct of a tedious process of elimination in which startups scour domain aftermarkets and send out countless cold emails. It’s a frustrating experience that often results in startups giving up partway through and resorting to all-too-common ‘Web 2.0′ names that are difficult to spell or decipher.” To help startups navigate the tricky process of company naming, Shapiro wrote a popular guide based on his experience in the domain industry and the questions he’s often asked by entrepreneurs.

Shapiro and Zeiden will not join Techstars as employees but will provide ongoing mentorship and branding support to startups in the Techstars portfolio.