© Koorvi

Numi is now Koorvi: 6 tips for a successful rebranding

When founders are at the beginning of their startup journey, the perfect name for the company or product is not necessarily the top priority. It therefore comes as no surprise when a startup changes its name or at least rebrands its product. But what do you need to bear in mind? We spoke to Andrea Schneller, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Koorvi, about precisely this. She talks about the rebranding of her startup and gives tangible tips for founders who are about to take similar steps.

Koorvi, known as Numi before the rebranding, is a SaaS solution for consumer goods brands that enables intelligent and user-friendly take-back of used products. Koorvi helps brands to track and manage return flows and currently automates manual processes such as the creation of shipping labels, pre-sorting and customer payouts. The startup’s plugin can be integrated into all existing store systems and customized. Product take-back enables brands to be more sustainable and generate revenue through recommerce and parts refurbishment. In this way, the impact startup aims to make a significant contribution to the circular economy.

Munich Startup: What prompted you to rebrand? Why are you now Koorvi and no longer Numi?

Andrea Schneller, Koorvi: Therewere a few reasons for this. We came up with the name Numi at a very early stage, when we only had the initial idea. Back then, we looked at what we found exciting as a brand name and which domains were still available. In the circular economy, we faced the major challenge that everyone already has “Circle” in their name and in the end no one knows who actually does what. That’s why we wanted to use something that is a proper name. That’s how we came up with Numi and the domain numi.circular. But then we had to learn that we weren’t just doing ourselves a favor with the name and domain. Because there are many other companies with the same name: yoga studios, a cosmetics brand, everything you can imagine. This made it difficult to find us in Google, also because we had Numi as a brand name but numi.circular as a domain.

Coincidence: A second startup called Numi was founded in Munich at the same time

At this early stage, we were already aware that we would have to look into the issue again. After the first proof, we wanted to go further and protect the brand. In the beginning, however, it was also an economic consideration for us: It makes no sense to protect a brand first and foremost if we don’t even know what the product will look like in the end. It was during this time that chance struck, because at the same time another startup was founded in Munich, also called Numi: they had secured the domain numi.digital. The other team had registered the name for themselves and we realized that it would probably be difficult to protect it in parallel.

But that was okay for us because we were aware from the outset that we might have to look for a new name. That’s why we gave our company a name that was independent of the brand: Circular Systems.

Munich Startup: What are the first steps in a rebranding?

Andrea Schneller: The really big issue, which we also had a lot of respect for, was of course the question of what an alternative would be. At the beginning, we couldn’t imagine that we could find another name that would fit us as well as Numi. So brainstorming was one of the first steps. And that’s exactly what kept us busy for quite a while. We did a lot of rounds in which we combined terms based on what we do, tried out nesting words and thought in other languages.

“We have been supported by a trademark lawyer”

At the same time, of course, we also made sure that we didn’t opt for another brand that would either be protected by someone else or that was already protected in some way. To this end, we had the support of a trademark lawyer. He checked Numi again and finally told us that the name would no longer work. The law firm then also checked our options from the brainstorming sessions directly, even before we had decided on a new name.

In retrospect, however, I have to say that we could have done the search ourselves. The lawyers did nothing other than use the free search function in the DPMA trade mark register. Of course, you have to do a bit of research into what word marks, figurative marks and so on are all about. But you can also do an initial search for a first overview yourself. They really earned a lot with us.

Munich Startup: And what happened once you had found your new name?

Andrea Schneller: When it became clear that Koorvi would be our new name and that we would also get a domain, we started preparing for the rebranding ourselves. For us, this went hand in hand with the complete overhaul of the website. It’s not a must, of course, but it’s a good time. We then played around a bit with announcing the upcoming changes on LinkedIn because we also wanted to prepare our followers a little.

Koorvi organized the rebranding with a six-week plan

This was followed by the rebranding period: we created a six-week plan that included specific rebranding activities for each week. During this time, we launched information, had podcasts and articles in the pipeline, sent emails, informed contacts and did a lot more. Our aim was for everyone in our network to see the new name at least six times during these six weeks. So that it would stick in people’s minds.

It’s also easy to underestimate some things: After all, the rebranding and the new domain meant that all our email addresses changed. So we had to adjust all accounts accordingly and inform all contacts that they have a new email address.

Munich Startup: Are you satisfied with how it went?

Andrea Schneller: Yes, we are really totally happy, especially with the new name. In the beginning we were worried about whether we would be able to say goodbye to the old one and it took us a while to get used to it. But we got a lot of good feedback that the logo is cool, that the name is well received and that the new website was a successful step. And of course the advantage that we have no competition with the name Koorvi. If you type Koorvi into Google, only we come up.

Long time trials and small surprises

Munich Startup: How long did the rebranding take for you, from the decision to the final go-live of the new brand?

Andrea Schneller: The pure process in which we actively dealt with it took about six months. In September 2023, we started to deal with it very acutely. It started with the brainstorming sessions and the register information. The actual trademark applications followed in October. They always take a few months, and we received feedback from the European register in January. After the first registration, however, there is still a three-month opposition period during which a similar trademark could be registered. We then started our communication plan in mid-January and finally converted the website in February. All in all, it took about six months, but as I said, we already had a possible rebranding on our radar when we founded the company.

Munich Startup: Has anything happened to you in this six months that you didn’t expect at all?

Andrea Schneller: What definitely surprised us was where we actually appear everywhere, i.e. where we are listed as a startup even without any action on our part. The rebranding meant we had to get to grips with this and we now have a reasonable overview. And, of course, we also reclaimed the accounts and cleaned up the content.

6 specific tips for rebranding

Munich Startup: What specific tips can you give other founders for rebranding based on your experience?

Andrea Schneller: 1. While we were looking for our new name, we applied directly for funding. The European Union provides funding for SMEs to register trademarks in both the German and European registers via the EUIPO, which is effectively the European Union’s trademark office. You can get up to 1,000 euros reimbursed. You have to apply for this in advance and as soon as you have been approved, you can initiate the trademark registration.

2. Another big learning beforehand was that it can be a disadvantage if the domain name does not match the brand name. We had Numi as the brand name and numi.circular as the domain. And that makes it much more difficult to be found in search engines, especially if there are other companies with a similar name.

3. Consistency is very important in a rebranding. You should think very carefully in advance about where and in what order you change things. In our case, for example, there was a slight delay when we had already launched the official rebranding and wanted to follow up with the new website straight away. However, the relaunch was then delayed by a week, which caused confusion in the meantime, as we had communicated the rebranding but the website was still the old one. We then resolved this with a notice at the top of the page.

Communication and repetition are the key

4. We informed our direct contacts in advance by email that we were changing our name. This was not only done under the motto “We want to tell you first”, but it was also about using them as multipliers. We told them on which day we were launching the rebranding and asked for their support on social media. We also shared our new email addresses and asked them to save them and only use them. This is also important so that they don’t end up in spam. However, this also has something to do with the new domain and you have to pay attention to a few settings here.

5. Plan for transition periods. We will continue to run the old e-mail addresses in parallel for a longer period of time, at least one year, for all those who have not noticed the rebranding. The same applies to the old domain. If you currently enter numi.circle, you will be redirected to Koorvi – and this will remain the case for some time to come. It will certainly take at least a year.

6. And of course you have to place the rebranding as often as possible so that people don’t just hear it once, but more often. On LinkedIn, for example, we currently use the name Koorvi, but still have “former Numi.circular” in brackets in the name. And we still have it in the header of our website so that we don’t lose anyone.

How Koorvi continues after the rebranding

Munich Startup: What’snext for you after the rebranding?

Andrea Schneller: The topic of the circular economy is currently attracting a lot of attention and more and more companies are starting to feel regulatory pressure, for example in the textile sector, also as a result of decisions at EU level. We are noticing that we are having completely different types of conversations as a result than was perhaps the case a year or two ago. In this respect, this year is all about converting our first customers and at the same time expanding our outreach in order to move from the initial pioneers to a broader customer target group.

At the same time, we are continuing to expand our partner network. We have a software solution ourselves, which is why we are relying on a network of partners in our core industries – i.e. consumer goods, textiles, outdoor, sports, children – who resell, refurbish, recycle and offer other circular services for us. We want to launch a financing round in the fall, for which I am now in the early stages of preparation. And, of course, we are still in the process of further development at the same time – a product like this is never finished.

Munich Startup: And finally, what’s behind your new name “Koorvi”?

Andrea Schneller: We had said that we wanted to have a proper name again with the new name, but that it should also contain the essence of what we do. And we’ve achieved that, which is why we’re so happy with the name. “Koorvi” is actually a portmanteau word that contains “kör”, which means circle in Hungarian. So we actually have the “circle” in our name, without being called anything with “circle”. And the second syllable, “vi”, stands for life. This means that our name reflects the product life cycle, which we are extending with our solution. We came up with the idea of using Hungarian thanks to a tip from our environment. It’s not unusual to use other languages for a brand name, and it was suggested that we take a look at Hungarian, as there are many beautiful words that only exist there.