The most common question we get when talking to candidates, prospects and customers is about the company name — what does Zugata mean and how we came up with the name. We thought it may be fun to go down memory lane to jot down how the name came to be.
Inspired by several Zen* companies — ZenDesk, Zenefits, Zenpayroll (now Gusto), ZenMe was the placeholder name during our fund-raising process last year. We even negotiated with the person who owned the zenme.com domain but some of our advisers and investors gently nudged us to choose a different name. And we had to move fast so we could incorporate the company and become official.
Back to the drawing board…
We started by documenting the criteria we would use in the naming process:
- It had to start with an A or Z. Most lists are usually sorted alphabetically so we wanted to be at either the top or bottom of the list to have the best chance of getting noticed.
- Availability of the domain was key. We didn’t want to pay a lot to get the domain.
- Relevant to what we were doing. Our mission is to use data to help employees reach their potential so we wanted a name that had a tie-in to the mission. We also felt that employee development is a journey and therefore, continuous so we wanted those to fit in as well.
- A name that is easy to spell and pronounce.
Philippe and I locked ourselves in the basement conference room at the General Catalyst “house” on University Ave in Palo Alto, CA. Incidentally, the basement was where we incubated the company but I’m digressing…
“Our mission is to use data to help employees reach their potential so we wanted a name that had a tie-in to the mission. “
Floor to ceiling whiteboards, markers and our laptops were our friends for several days. On a whim, we started with Latin words hoping that we would have a slightly better chance of securing URLs. No luck! More often than not, the names we liked were already taken by others.
We realized that we need to make up a word to have a slightly higher chance of landing on something. We searched online for different Latin words for keywords we jotted down in criteria section and found out that Jugis meant continuous in Latin. We tried adding other words to it to see if we could come up with something interesting. Since we are all about data, we added ‘data’ — Jugis + Data became Jugata.
When we started saying the word out-loud, we didn’t like the sound of it and besides, we wanted the company name to start with an A or a Z so we replaced the J with a Z. Jugata became Zugata! And to top it off, the domain name was available for cheap. Voilà!
So that’s the story behind the name. Philippe and I snuck out to the Rose and Crown for a quick pint to celebrate our first milestone — our name.