Our journey to Truv: the story of our renaming
As we expand and innovate our product portfolio, we changed our name to Truv, formerly Citadel API.
Our mission at Citadel API is to help businesses make confident decisions. We do that by delivering the very best, most accurate income and employment verification data. Unfortunately, Citadel API tells you none of that.
Citadel: the name that started it all
When Ilya and I started the company in 2020, we didn’t know that we would become a verifications company. We thought maybe we’d do something with identity or build fintech for consumers. The name Citadel felt like a safe choice.
- a fortress that commands a city and is used in the control of the inhabitants and in defense during an attack or siege.
- any strongly fortified place; stronghold.
It took some time for us to find a product-market fit.
Our customers were the first to tell us. The name Citadel just doesn’t fit with who we are today and where we’re headed.
Deciding to change the name
It was less of a decision. More like a cease and desist. For obvious reasons, Citadel (the hedge fund) was not too happy with our company name. However, they were incredibly respectful through the process and we came to a mutual agreement on a path forward.
The search for a new name
This was where the hard part began. We didn’t know how we were going to find the name, but we did know a few things about what we wanted.
The criteria we had:
- It should be one word and short
- We need to own the dot com
- It should be something we can trademark
- It needs to mean something about what we do or the values we have
- We need to love it
As a founder, I try to figure most things out on my own. But for this one, I knew I needed an expert. I remember when I worked at Carta, we hired a woman named Susan to help rename the company, so she was my first call.
We spent the next several months living and breathing names as a leadership team. Susan sent us hundreds of names to consider. The leadership team would spend the week thinking about it separately. At the end of each week, we would vigorously debate our favorites.
How would we market it? Would our customers understand the meaning behind it? Is that really who we are? Will it be memorable? Those were some of the questions going through our heads. It felt like an identity crisis. Yet also a liberating experience as we were defining the future of Citadel and the future good we could do.
We had some strong contenders. I’d fall in love with one only to go back to the drawing board because it didn’t check every box.
The hard thing about naming is you can’t put a deadline against it. We’re pretty rigorous about OKRs at Citadel, but I’m not any closer this week than I was last week with finding the perfect name.
NOTE: I promised Susan I wouldn’t disclose any of the other contenders in case she uses it for a different company.
It’s true what they say. When you meet the one, you know it. When I heard it, I knew it was perfect. And luckily for me, the leadership team knew it too. It made so much sense. It’s associated with “true” and “truth.” It’s a combination of “true” and “prove.” In French, it means “to find.” It checked every box.
It didn’t start out as Truv. Truve was our first love.
But Truve.com is owned by a family? I’m not really even sure. If you visit it, it’s a bit creepy.
A fortuitous mispronunciation of the name Truve led us to Truv. As our VP of Marketing started saying Truve around her house, she would consistently pronounce it as Truve (tru-vay). Then the realization came. Why do we need the “e?” Four letters are better than five.
And that’s how Truv was born.
It’s been hard keeping the name secret from our customers and partners, but there’s a lot of paperwork and behind-the-scenes preparation to rename a company. I’ll tell that story another day.
But we’ve done it. After securing Truv.com for what I’ve heard is a bargain for a four-letter domain (our investors will be happy to hear that), Citadel API is officially Truv.