There’s more to this name than first meets the eye.
In 2014, Wei DAI (戴威) and his student friends at Peking University were thinking of a way to solve the so-called “last mile” problem of commuters — the final leg of a person’s journey. They found the answer in internet technologies.
They developed a mobile app that riders can use to unlock and rent a bicycle nearby, then leave it anywhere when they arrive at their destination. There is no hassle in payment and parking the bicycle, so it is very convenient for commuters. The idea took off like wildfire and Dai’s startup became a major bike-sharing operator in China with global expansion into countries such as Singapore, Australia, United Kingdom, France, and United States.
Dai named his startup OFO. According to Baidu Baike encyclopedia, OFO refers to the term “Online Fuse Offline”, which is a fusion of online (digital) with offline (physical) operations. Its corporate domain was OFO.so (Somali country extension) but in 2017 the company invested more than $1 million to acquire the brand-matching OFO.com
What picture do you see in OFO.com? When written in lowercase, the “ofo” in the domain looks like a person riding a bicycle! So, this is a creative way to use a domain. In fact, the startup prefers its brand/domain to be written in lowercase so that you can get a better picture of its business.
Alas, the million-dollar OFO.com domain name may become available again. The company appears to be in financial trouble.