Why do we call ourselves NeonVest?

Co-authored by Aakash Shah and Surya Viswanathan.

We’ve gotten asked this question a few times and it makes sense. We don’t have “block” or “crypto” or “coin” or “chain” or “bit” or “ledger” or any of the usual suspects in our name. For the purposes of this article let’s call these crypto-sounding names.

Constructing Narratives

Let’s backtrack to early last year, when we began serious discussions on how to build this company. One of the points of discussion was the name. A common fallacy is how consumers think about “good” names. We point to an Amazon or Robinhood and think, yeah, those are great brand names. But we only think that because they’ve become successful. Their success is the biggest factor for why we have a positive perception of the brand, after which we construct a narrative for why that name was unique and a perfect fit. So, in this post, we’re going to give you the real story for how we came up with NeonVest. At the end, though, we’ll leave you some more satisfying post-hoc narratives, that you’ll hopefully remember.

The Process

To start with, we made a spreadsheet that contained almost a hundred blockchain-sounding names. About half were already taken. Evidently, these were companies we had never even heard of, but yet the domains or incorporation rights had been taken. We mutually agreed that a few, including CoinToss & Cryptopia would be good names, but they were unavailable. We set the name discussion aside for a while to discuss more important matters.

After some time had passed and we had the opportunity to reflect further, we both agreed that it might actually be better to not have a blockchain-sounding name as our company name. Why? Well, the rationale here ties into our understanding of mental models and branding. If 90% of companies in this space have blockchain-sounding names, then how would someone unfamiliar with the space differentiate one from another, purely from a nomenclature perspective? Sure, people can visualize Coinbase or Bitfinex instantly when the name is uttered, but that’s because they’re already big-time names. For startups that are just getting launched and still trying to build up their brand, it’s likely people are going to mix names up. I know I have. Although I keep an Excel doc of useful blockchain websites and tools, I jumble them up frequently or sometimes forget which are which, because they all sound similar.

Taking a contrarian view, we opted to embark on the road less traveled and go for a name that wasn’t blockchain-sounding. We performed a scenario analysis and weighed the upsides and downsides. The bad news was that we would need better relative search engine optimization (SEO) for people to stumble upon our website. Noting, however, that even if we were blockchain-sounding, it would be more competitive to be listed in the top 100 results. In fact, choosing a differentiated name would likely get you pretty high on that list. The good news was that people would remember the name more easily because it stands out, while also sounding clean and original. We also didn’t want our brand’s success to hinge on how strong our SEO was — if our product was good, people would come. We thought that the differentiation more than made up for the costs.

We sat down for two days straight, trying to combine a bunch of words with various suffixes, ranging the gamut from city names to animals to colors and — finally, after many days — Neon. We liked the sound of Neon. Simple. Short. Futuristic. We knew we’d need to tie it back to the eventual purpose of our product — investing. We combined ‘neon’ with ‘invest’, and “NeonVest” was born.

But why NeonVest? What is the significance? To be perfectly honest, we just thought it sounded good. There was no rhyme or reason for why we ended up with that name. However, we able to come up with post-hoc justifications for why the name makes sense. Here are a few:

Neon as a Noble Gas

Neon is a noble gas alongside Helium, Argon, Krypton, Xenon, and Radion on the Periodic Table of Elements, occupying what is known as Group 0. Noble gases are known for being odorless, colorless, and having low reactivity, which means they’re stable. They also have relatively low boiling points and melting points. Neon specifically is known for its reddish-orange glow in discharge tubes and glow lamps. Because our color theme consists of gold and black, this doesn’t exactly explain it. However, we at NeonVest exemplify the characteristics that noble gases exhibit. We are odorless and colorless in the sense that we take an objective, “No BS” approach to evaluating blockchain projects. We don’t discriminate between what we dive into the most, even if it appears to be the most miniscule problem at the outset. We are stable in the sense that we are long-term thinkers, and focus on long-term competitive advantages and sustainable moats. We’re happy to associate with the Noble Gases.

New Eon of Investing

If you strip apart Neon into “N” and “Eon”, it becomes the short form for “New Eon”. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to bring to blockchain. A New Eon of Investing. So far, most people invested in blockchain out of excitement, curiosity, or luck. Now, though, we’re seeing a shift. Smarter people, who have stayed on the sidelines for a while observing the market, are coming in. With deflated prices and quality new projects, it is one of the best opportunities for investors to enter. And this time, investors will come in with purpose. We anticipate NeonVest to lead the charge when it comes to evaluating blockchain assets, and to bring about the New Eon.

Neon is the Color of Money

NeonVest is the official name, but internally we refer to the business as Neon. Neon Green is a unique color. It’s made up of 22% Red, 8% Blue, and 100% Green ($$$). Investing through NeonVest will hopefully put you in the green.

There’s no answer for why we came up with NeonVest. But, as Sherlock once said, “Many studies have shown that first instincts are typically the right ones”. However you slice the name, you can find significance in its meaning. We like all of the stories. We hope you do too.