The terms of the deal were not disclosed. A banner on the NameLayer homepage simply says “Stay Tuned.”
NameLayer was founded in 2011 by Julian Shapiro and Edward Zeiden, who will provide mentoring and branding support for startups in the Techstars program, but will not join the company as employees. NameLayer’s portfolio is the result of domain aftermarket algorithms which identified potentially useful domains among the millions of possibilities. Shapiro also wrote a popular guide to company naming based on his experience. Domains which the NameLayer acquisition brings to Techstars include SocialBond.com, PayMethod.com, and ZenSale.com.
“Domain names are a scarce resource, the prices for which are determined by the whims of oftentimes hard-to-reach domain owners hoping for big paydays,” according to Shapiro. “Consequently, in the digital age, company names are no longer truly chosen; instead, they are the byproduct of a tedious process of elimination in which startups scour domain aftermarkets and send out countless cold emails. It’s a frustrating experience that often results in startups giving up partway through and resorting to all-too-common ‘Web 2.0′ names that are difficult to spell or decipher.”
Techstars already provides seed funding and mentorship to startups which are chosen from thousands of applicants. The addition of the NameLayer portfolio addresses the unfortunate possibility of a startup in the program needing to choose between spending all of its seed money on the domain and brand that it wants, and choosing to settle for a less effective name.
Mentors featured by the startup accelerator include Rackspace Hosting founder Pat Condon, Twitter CEO Dick Costello, and foursquare founder Dennis Crowley among many others.
Techstars participated in a funding round for IaaS provider DigitalOcean in August, and earlier this year MetricsHub, which went through the Microsoft Accelerator program powered by Techstars, was acquired by Microsoft.