Look, I’m not here to hate on startups that spell their name with multiple y’s, z’s, or an other estranged letter of the alphabet. I get it. Finding a web domain is hard. Incorporating as a business without infringing on others is hard. It’s fine. Yeah, it makes my job a little bit harder when I have to Google the correct spelling four different times, but whatever — what are one man’s laments in the grand scheme of things, anyway? Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.
Sometimes startups raise money and everybody is really proud of them, like when your dog stops urinating all over the house and everybody feels comfortable sitting on the couch without testing for stray liquid. And then there are times when a startup changes their spelling from quirky-startup-spelling to Webster’s-dictionary-spelling and everybody pats them on the back like proud parents holding back tears of joy, this is an incredible moment akin to your dog learning how to make peanut butter/jelly sandwiches and bringing them to you every afternoon with a cold glass of milk. If you combine both of these events? Well then, you’re just stuck with a good old-fashioned hoedown of proud, proud humans.
That’s where we are today with Neighbor: a hoedown of pride. People are literally dancing on the streets outside my office, if you want to see tech enthusiasts move their arms and legs in the most unnatural ways come to Lehi right now. And who can blame them, not only is Neighbor announcing a $2.5 million seed round from Peak Ventures and Pelion Ventures, they’ve started spelling their name N-e-i-g-h-b-o-r instead of N-e-i-y-b-o-r. This is truly remarkable progression, I interviewed co-founder/CEO Joseph Woodbury six short months ago and never thought I would see the day of y abolishment. But here we are: change can happen. If a dog brought me a PB&J right now I would probably die, the human body can only handle so much positive emotion flowing through the bloodstream.
Here’s Woodbury on the decision to take away the y.
“That was an exciting moment for everyone on the team. It was nice to have that techie, we-spell-it-wrong feeling at the very start, but we’re all comfortable with the new spelling, how it communicates trust and a feeling that we’re bigger. It is a good move from a SEO perspective, brand recognition perspective, and there’s a lot of cool things we’ll be doing with the new spelling as well.”
Alongside the seed funding and spelling change, Neighbor is debuting some exciting wares. The most intriguing is Sharing With A Friend, an integration with Facebook that identifies mutual friends amongst people using the Neighbor platform. This enhances Neighbor’s ability to quickly create trust on the user side, rather than simply throwing people into the wild, unknown world of storage.
Neighbor is also debuting a new website, one that Woodbury hopes projects a more modern, less corporate approach. It currently has storage listings in 11 different states, with Utah leading the charge. The majority of that growth has happened without marketing, though that changes with today’s funding. Neighbor started a billboard campaign at the beginning of this month and has already seen organic traffic double. With a new focus on spreading the word, only time will tell how big Neighbor can become.
“We’re in that phase where the product is great, it’s a clean experience, and now it’s time to grow it,” said Woodbury. “We’ve had great adoption in Utah, we’re excited to see this happen without us marketing heavily. We’re very hopeful that as we open up traditional marketing channels, they will respond even better.