The original names of 5 big NYC tech brands

by Taylor Majewski
November 29, 2016

Rebranding is never easy, and it's particularly difficult when a company decides to change the core of its identity — its name. Though renaming a company is typically part of a larger marketing strategy, it's risky and could face some major backlash.

There is, of course, a number of name-changing success stories in the tech industry. BackRub became Google, Apple Computer became Apple, Air Bed and Breakfast became Airbnb, each proving that a rebrand can turn into a big brand.

Here are some New York City companies that have attempted a similar feat, and the names they used to go by.


Classivity rebranded to...


Shortly after raising its seed round in 2014, Classivity rebranded to ClassPass, which offers a membership program for fitness classes across multiple gyms and studios. The company went on to become wildly popular in New York City, and has expanded to 38 additional cities across three continents.



10gen rebranded to….


In 2014, 10gen changed its name to MongoDB, which was the name of an open-source cloud computing stack that the company was working on. As the product became more successful than the company that created it.



Urban Compass rebranded to….


The real estate brokerage company dropped the ‘Urban’ from its name back in 2015, which was part of a strategy to appeal to a more national audience. Not only was the name change simpler, but made sense as the company began to grow into areas like Aspen and The Hamptons.



Rap Genius rebranded to….


Genius is another example of a company that dropped a word in order to become simpler and more all-encompassing. The annotation platform rebranded back in 2014, when it moved beyond Rap lyrics to other genres including rock, literature, news history and sports.



NowThisNews rebranded to…


NowThisNews dropped the ‘News’ from its name in 2014, which reflected the broadening of its coverage at the time. The company is known for its 15-second videos, which include news topics, op-eds, science and viral content.



Know of a company that deserves coverage? Let us know or tweet us @builtinnewyork.

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