Kevin Sandhu admits it was the “very uncreative former investment banker in me” that came up with the name Grouplend for his company before its launch last year.
Even then, there were murmurs within the Vancouver-based financial tech (FinTech) startup that a rebranding would soon be necessary. But those talks did not pick up steam until five months ago, according to founder Sandhu.
“It (Grouplend) never really fit the bigger vision of what we were doing and that is building a digital finance platform,” he said.
“We decided now or never — an earlier rebrand is ultimately going to benefit us in the long-run.”
Hence, Grouplend is now Grow.
Since its launch, Grow’s customer volume has been 2-2.5 times greater than Sandhu expected.
It also attracted a $10.2-million investment from the respective founders of Vancouver-based PlentyOfFish and Peer 1 Hosting in August.
And Sandhu said he plans to expand its workforce to 15-20 employees by the end of the year — up from nine workers in August — and then double that number by the end of 2016.
“We’ve been very fortunate to build this business faster than we had previously expected,” Sandhu said.
“The downside to that is, in fact, there’s more to leave behind as we move from Grouplend to Grow.”
Grow’s technology uses data analytics to calculate different loan rates for customers depending on their credit history. It also identifies risky customers to predict the likelihood of getting a loan repaid.
Sandhu said the name Grouplend made sense initially since its first product was in the lending space.
But a name change was needed with the launch of new products like RateTracker, which helps map credit history, and plans to introduce more services in the broader credit space in 2016.
Grow did not reach out to an outside agency to develop the new name. Instead, it engaged with employees and investors internally to determine what message it wanted to get out there.
From there, Sandhu said focus groups featuring people in their target customer base led them to a couple of different possible names.
“Grow was a clear winner,” he said.