Techstars Acquires NameLayer to Bring Premium Domain Names to its Portfolio

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To bolster its 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.

To bolster its 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 Shapiros 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. NameLayers 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. Its 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 hes often asked by entrepreneurs.

David Cohen, Techstars Founder and CEO, has seen the repercussions of the startup naming process first-hand throughout his many Techstars cohorts: "Company naming is a key part of the branding process, but its subject to contrasting tastes and an illiquid domain name market that results in startups wasting their time during the branding process. Because Techstars is an intensely productive three-month program in which product development and iteration are primary goals, were constantly looking to streamline our program to help entrepreneurs avoid recurring obstacles. Using NameLayers inventory as a private naming pool for our startups to utilize will provide them with a big advantage."

NameLayers Edward Zeiden recognizes Techstars as a great fit, "Techstars is the best possible suitor for NameLayers assets. We originally expected an acquisition from either a domain registrar looking to build out a premium domain section or an accelerator looking to assist its own companies. Were glad it was the latter, and particularly glad it was Techstars, because our extensive work in the domain aftermarket space will now go toward naming the next generation of top-tier startups."

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

Techstars is a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program. We run a three month long program in Austin (TX), Boston (MA), Boulder (CO), Cloud (San Antonio, TX), Chicago (IL), New York City (NY), Seattle (WA), and London (UK) once each year. Additionally, we run several powered by Techstars programs with some of the best brands in the world.

press(at)techstars(dot)com

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