Data Driven: What Domains Did Startups Use in Q1 of 2021?

The first quarter of 2021, running from January 1 to March 31, saw 1,154 new companies, solo ventures, or projects added to the Crunchbase database. This isn’t a particularly interesting stat on its own — every quarter, thousands of companies spring into life. What might be interesting, though, is the domain names that those companies founded in Q1 of 2021 are using.

Fortunately, Crunchbase shares this data, so I’ve compiled a list of domains from the dataset that we can take a look at. Of the 1,154 companies, 106 either didn’t have a domain name listed, or the domain was erroneous, so couldn’t be counted. That leaves us with 1,048 domains to analyze.



Out of those 1,048 domains, 112 different domain extensions were used. This does not count ccTLD variations such as .CO.UK and .UK or .CO.IN and .IN, for example, these are merged into one TLD for the purpose of this article.

Of those 112 domain extensions, I spotted 54 of the “new” breed of gTLDs, which includes the likes of .APP, .XYZ, and .TECH. The rest of the extensions consist of ccTLDs such as .IO, .CO, and .AI, as well as the traditional extensions including .COM, .NET, and .ORG.


Top Extensions

As you might expect, .COM was the most popular extension. There were 610 companies listed as using the .COM extension, equal to 58.2%. The second most popular extension was .IO with 76 uses, accounting for 7.25% of companies. Assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory, .IO has experienced something of a boom of late, with a number of five- and six-figure .IO sales being reported. It’s worth noting that although .IO is in second place, it’s so far behind .COM.

In third is .CO with 46 uses, accounting for 4.38% of companies. After that is .AI with 27 uses (2.57%) and .UK, combining .CO.UK and .UK, with 20 uses (1.9%).

Here are the top 9 TLDs that have been used by startups founded in Q1 of 2021:

wdt_ID Extension Number of Uses Percentage
1 .com 610 58.21%
2 .io 76 7.25%
3 .co 46 4.39%
4 .ai 27 2.58%
5 .uk 20 1.91%
6 .in 20 1.91%
7 .app 16 1.53%
8 .org 16 1.53%
9 .net 14 1.34%


The “new” gTLDs are seemingly unpopular among startups created in Q1 of 2021, as the top-performing extension was .APP with just 16 uses, accounting for 1.5%. Here are the top 5 “new” gTLDs.

wdt_ID Extension Number of Uses Percentage
1 .app 16 1.53%
2 .tech 8 0.76%
3 .dev 5 0.48%
4 .xyz 5 0.48%
5 .capital 4 0.38%


Domain Length

The average length of all 1,048 domains in our dataset was 9.6 characters. The shortest domain was, a domain hack used by Muse Group, a new company that now houses a number of existing music-industry apps such as UltimateGuitar and Audacity.

The longest name was, at 28 characters in length.

Before analyzing domain length, I hypothesized that the average length of extensions such as .IO, .CO, and .APP would be lower than .COM. That’s partially because I believe that if a company brands around a generic word such as Knock, the exact-match .COM equivalent would either be too expensive for a new company, or it would be in use. In this scenario, Knock opted to use (5 characters), rather than a longer .COM such as (8 characters).

My hypothesis was proven right. The average length of a .COM domain in our dataset was 10.5 characters.

In comparison, .IO’s average length is 7.9, .CO’s average length is 8.6, .AI’s average length is 7.7, and .APP’s average length is 6.6.



Notable Domains

A few domain names caught my eye during my analysis.

First was, a solid one-word .COM domain used by a platform that helps its users deal with loss. The company has raised $13 million since it was founded earlier this year.

I also noticed, which sold for $10,000 earlier this year in a deal brokered by The domain is now used by Arrive, a vacation rental startup.

Aside from the aforementioned domain, the other name that stood out was, used by Non-Fungible Fillable Tokens, a company that calls the NFFT the “evolution of NFTs.” According to WHOIS, the domain may have been acquired some time in March 2021.



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