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How 10 World Famous Companies Got Their Names

Vintage Pepsi bottles inside a wooden container

A company name is hugely important to business owners.

A lot of thought goes into the naming of a company, and many end up changing their names, either in a rebrand or due to legal action.

There is a lot of innovative thinking around the naming of a company, partially because so many exist now a lot of names are taken, as the Canadian teenager Mike Rowe found out.

Here are 10 companies and how they got their names


Video game giant Sega is famous for games like Sonic the Hedgehog.

The name "Sega" is a shortened form of "Service Games of Japan," reflecting its early focus on creating games for the US military based in the Pacific Rim​​.

Virgin Records

Richard Branson named his company "Virgin," due to the company being complete newcomers or "virgins" in the business world​​.


The world-famous search engine was named after a misspelling of a massive number.

A "googol" is a mathematical term for the digit 1, followed by 100 zeros.

This was changed to Google to indicate the massive amount of information the search giant is able to handle.


Pepsi was originally known as "Brad's Drink".

The company was renamed Pepsi, drawing inspiration from digestive enzyme pepsin, reflecting its inventor's hope that the drink would aid digestion​​​​.


The magic spray that fixes machines has an odd name.

It actually stands for "Water Displacement, 40th formula."

This is a reference to how many attempts it took to perfect the formula back in 1953.

It was obviously worth it as WD-40 remains popular more than 70 years later.


It's easy one this one, Cisco is headquarter in San Francisco, so its name is a nod to its him


Etsy is the online home of quirky crafts and vintage goods.

Its founder, Rob Kalin, chose the name as a "nonsense" word..

It's inspired by an Italian movie.

Etsy reminded Kalin of the Italian phrase "eh si", which means "oh yes" and the Latin word for "and if".

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