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interviews Inside Interview: How Jason Wilk Acquired Dave.com For His Fintech Startup

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Jason Wilk is a serial entrepreneur having founded companies such as Allscreen.TV, a technology platform that was ranked at number twenty-nine on INC 5000’s list of fastest growing companies in 2015. Zealot Networks acquired Allscreen in 2015 and Jason soon started work on his next project, Dave.

Dave is the fintech startup that has created an app to help you outsmart overdrafts. By connecting your bank account, Dave will tell you how low your bank balance is likely to go within the next seven days. Backed by investors such as Mark Cuban, the new company is gaining a lot of traction.

Recently, Jason managed to acquire the Dave.com domain name. In this interview, we speak to Jason about Dave.com, why he bought the name and why he decided to call his startup Dave initially.


Can you tell us a little about yourself and the company behind Dave.com?
Dave.com is my fourth startup. It's a finance app that predicts people's spending so they don't overdraft their checking account. If they do, we have a cool solution to advance their paycheck at no cost other than what people feel like paying us. It's backed by some great investors like SV Angel, Mark Cuban, Jonathan Kraft, The Chernin Group, and others.


Where did the brand name of “Dave” come from?
Most people turn to friends for financial help, especially when it's a small amount of money. Additionally, friends are supposed to be there to caution you if you are about to do something wrong. We wanted Dave to be seen as the person to turn to for help. Our app can tell you a week in advance of a potential overdraft and spot you money if you're in need.


Were there any other brand names under consideration, or did you immediately go for Dave?
Dave was the name we had originally discussed. It seems we all have a friend named Dave; it was also the easiest to remember and more importantly, spell. Surprisingly we didn't really have any other names in mind.


dave.jpg
How did you first go about finding out that Dave.com was available to buy? Was it a case of contacting the owner, or was the domain offered to you?
Dave.com was just a landing page for a design company owned by a nice man named Dave. I had reached out via their contact page a few times over 6 months with no luck. We settled on TryDave.com but as the launch became closer, we knew we could do better. I also had recently finished reading a Paul Graham essay on how the vast majority of successful Y Combinator startups owned their domain name. I gave it one last shot in January with a more aggressive approach and I got a response.


What was the purchase price of Dave.com?

It wasn't $50,000 but it also wasn't $1 million. In the end, I think both parties felt like they got a good deal which is always great. He is even shipping us the Dave.com license plates he owns which was very cool of him to do.


Did you use any tools (e.g., automated appraisals), services (e.g., manual appraisals, domain brokers), or data (e.g., sales data, search volumes, search results) to determine your best offer and/or the value of the domain?
I definitely did some research on relevant domain names to make sure we weren't paying an outrageous price. I did the deal on my own with our lawyer and I used Escrow.com to facilitate the last step.


Would you have considered paying more for the domain than you did?
I think the price we ended with is about as high as we would have gone. In the end, the amount we paid was not going to be what caused our company to fail. Sure, it shortened our runway slightly but the brand feels a lot more solid today because of it. People are trusting us with their finances and TryDave just didn't seem to give me the same confidence as Dave.com. The team loves it too. Everyone loves wearing a Dave.com hat, t-shirt, sticker, etc.

Additionally, when people ask where we work or when we answer our phones, we always say Dave.com. It's easy to say and share. The trouble with some of the new companies using human-type names for their startups is they sound awkward unless you own the .com.


Do you think that Dave would have gained as much traction as it has without the Dave.com domain name?
I think it's helping a lot.


What would your personal advice be for startups who are thinking of using a percentage of their funding to secure a premium .COM domain?
It really depends on the name and whether or not you are marketing to consumers. My last company was a .TV domain but it didn't matter much in the end since very few people were going there. What I can say is the price will only go up if you launch and are successful. We're all in with this company so we wanted to buy it as soon as possible.





Thanks to Jason for taking part in our Inside Interview series! If you want to find out more about the Dave.com service, head over to Dave.com or follow the team on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also follow Jason on Twitter @ jasonwilk.

Thanks to Jamie Zoch (@Yofie) for recommending Dave.com for our series.


These responses have been edited for clarity.


Inside Interviews is a blog series profiling the buyers of high-value domain names. Find out their motives, negotiation tactics, and their opinions on popular domaining topics only on the NamePros Blog.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Impact
5
Ha, I inquired about this domain back in 2002-2003 and could've got it for 10k. but didn't have the funds for it back then.
 

Bros

Top Contributor
Impact
1,392
Great point from the founder regarding TryDave vs. Dave. Super awesome brand too, short, easy to pronounce and type.
 

Candace

Broker at Starfire HoldingsTop Contributor
Starfire Holdings
Impact
1,087
Btw, looks like he just got $3M in funding according to Crunchbase.