Unicorn companies are privately held startups that have attained a valuation of $1 billion or more. A rare feat that only relatively few companies have ever achieved.
In part 1 of this Data Driven article, I started looking at unicorn companies who had invested sometimes significant funds in acquiring their exact-match .COM domain name on their way to gaining unicorn status.
In part 2, I’m continuing this analysis with data from a further seven unicorn companies.
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Domain Name: Scale.com
Previous Domain Name: Scale.ai
Upgrade Date: July 2019
Sometimes known as Scale AI, Scale was founded in 2016 using the Scale.ai domain name. The company offers a data platform for AI, providing high-quality training data for leading machine learning teams.
Scale managed to acquire the Scale.com domain from Digimedia in July 2019 for an undisclosed fee. However, it’s generally considered that Digimedia doesn’t sell their assets cheaply, so this is likely to have cost Scale a six, or even a seven-figure fee to achieve.
In August 2019, Scale announced a $100 million Series C funding round that cemented its place as a unicorn company.
Domain Name: Hippo.com
Previous Domain Name: MyHippo.com
Upgrade Date: August 2019
Insurance company Hippo describes itself as an insurtech company that provides home insurance products by taking a tech-driven approach.
This approach certainly seems popular with investors as Hippo has raised a total of $359 million, as of publisihng, since being founded in 2015.
Following the company’s $100 million Series D funding round in July 2019, Hippo managed to secure the Hippo.com domain for an undisclosed fee.
Domain Name: Chime.com
Previous Domain Name: ChimeBank.com
Upgrade Date: October 2017
For financial institutions, owning your exact-match .COM can instil instant trust in an otherwise wary potential customer. We’ve seen the likes of Mercury upgrade to Mercury.com recently, and before that, Chime upgraded from ChimeBank.com to Chime.com.
The upgrade happened around October 2017, around four years after the company was founded. At the end of September 2017, Chime announced an $18 million Series B funding round that likely motivated the company to secure Chime.com. As of publishing, Chime has raised $1.5 billion in funding.
Domain Name: Intercom.com
Previous Domain Name: Intercom.io
Upgrade Date: April 2016
You’ll have no doubt come across an Intercom live chat online. The Intercom system has become increasingly popular since the company launched in 2011.
It wasn’t until April 2016, coinciding with Intercom’s $50 million Series C funding round, that the company acquired it’s exact-match Intercom.com, upgrading from Intercom.io. Fun fact – the company also acquired Inter.com around the same time.
Domain Name: Compass.com
Previous Domain Name: UrbanCompass.com
Upgrade Date: November 2014
Starting life as UrbanCompass in 2012, this real estate giant rebranded to the simpler Compass, and acquired Compass.com in November 2014.
The purchase of Compass.com came four months after Compass closed its $40 million Series B funding round. As of publishing, Compass has amassed $1.6 billion in funding. Compass.com remains a key component of the company.
Domain Name: Grab.com
Previous Domain Name: Grab.co
Upgrade Date: March 2016
Grab started out as GrabTaxi, offering an Uber-esque service for the Asia-Pacific region. When GrabTaxi started to offer a wider range of services, the company made the decision to drop “Taxi” and be known simply as Grab.
Opting to use Grab.co, the company rapidly expanded. Six months before announcing its $750 million Series F funding round, Grab upgraded to Grab.com by acquiring the domain from a gaming studio for an undisclosed sum.
At publishing, Grab has amassed over $10 billion in funding. Grab.com is used as a base for its various food and delivery services.
Domain Name: Stripe.com
Previous Domain Name: GetStripe.com
Upgrade Date: 2013
Finally, we have payment giant Stripe. Founded in late 2010, Stripe initially used GetStripe.com from what I can tell. Stripe’s founders worked closely with Y Combinator founder Paul Graham, who has a famous philosophy when it comes to domains for startups:
If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name.
Stripe took Graham’s advice in 2013 when it acquired Stripe.com. The purchase came in between Stripe’s $20 million Series B round, and it’s $80 million Series C funding round. As with many other companies listed, Stripe.com has played a key part in the company’s product offering.
Missed part 1? Read it here.