The company started developing its service on a “bad” domain until it could acquire a better one.
If you want someone to trust you with their financial details, you’d better build on an ultra-premium domain name.
That’s the lesson I’ve learned from writing about several fintech services for Domain Name Wire over the past year. Column.com, Embed.com, and Wealth.com are three examples of fintech startups that secured top-tier domain names before launching to the public, smartly building their services on trustworthy, reliable .com domains.
Another company has followed suit, Increase.
Increase is an early-stage startup formed by ex-Stripe, Robinhood, and Visa employees wanting to build a new kind of banking system. In a similar vein to Column, a fellow banking startup from billionaire entrepreneurs William and Annie Hockey, Increase offers a powerful banking infrastructure that other fintech companies can build upon to provide payroll services, business payments, or even an investment platform.
The company, busy building its system behind the scenes, secured a one-word .com domain early on; Increase.com. According to Whois, Increase acquired Increase.com in early 2021, a move that DomainInvesting.com’s Elliot Silver spotted. Silver also pointed out that the domain held a $150,000 asking price at marketplace Sedo, but the details of the domain sale haven’t been disclosed.
The founding team of Increase was on the lookout for a good domain name while beginning the development of their platform.
Hacker News, a social news website run by Y Combinator, featured Increase on its homepage recently, prompting hundreds of comments from readers keen to know more about the service. Naturally, the company’s choice of domain name was noted by one commenter, who said, “Did you guys acquire the domain, or did the founders always have it?”
Jack Flintermann, a software engineer at Increase, responded,
We took the approach of starting with an intentionally bad name (in our case, bnk.dev) and using it until a good domain became available to purchase for a reasonable price.
Flintermann also referenced Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham’s article entitled “Change Your Name,” which advocates for securing a company’s exact-match .com domain.
Starting out with an intentionally bad name, bnk.dev, allowed the founders to begin the development of their company and product while maintaining ambitions for a better name and domain.
Moving from bnk.dev to Increase.com while developing the company’s product offering meant that Increase’s API and platform could be built around the Increase.com domain. Changing domain names further down the line when the product is more established is possible, but it would likely require more work from the development team.