The Uber for Startup Taglines.

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So occasionally I browse angel list to get a feel for the types of startups out there. There’s definitely a lot of great products and services being created, but I find it hard to read through the tag lines without my eyes glazing over. “Enterprise snapchat for actionable intelligence”, “Mobile social platform for connecting platforms” “The future of online transformation marketplaces” I’m exaggerating, but not by much.

I decided to take a look at the most common words. Is creating a unique standout tagline as hard as all these startups seem to imply? It feels like the buzzwords are intended to make the tagline stand out, but if everyone is doing it, then perhaps a blunt, no bullshit approach might work better.

Let’s take a look. First we’ll look at individual words, and then bigrams.

This is data from 718 startups in San Francisco that are of size 1-10 people, taken from job listings.

The most naive approach leaves in common words and strips out punctuation, but even that is informative.

[('for', 215), ('the', 132), ('and', 107), ('to', 79), ('your', 63), ('mobile', 58), ('a', 57), ('platform', 54), ('in', 40), ('data', 36)]

‘For’ clocks in at a whopping 30% of words.

‘Digital knowledge and communication for the handsbusy worker’

‘Amazon Web Services for block chains’

‘The largest marketplace for online tutors’

‘Exchange for hotel rooms Y Combinator S’

‘Uber of Digital Reproductive Health for Women’

‘The Private Marketplace for Ocean Freight’

‘BitcoinBlockchain API for Developers’

‘Metrics Engine for WebScale IT’

‘YC S AB testing for how content appears on social media’

‘An automated virtual assistant for apps’


‘The’ is commonly used for gradiosity. Didn’t you know it’s the thing!

‘The ultimate mobile app for Instagram marketers’

‘The leading recruitment marketplace for lawyers’

‘The first hiring marketplace for teams’

‘The people network for entrepreneurs’

‘The startup rating system’

‘To’ seems to be used in a similar context to ‘for’

‘Bring the power of the web to email’

‘Bringing small-medium retailers to the mobile world’

‘Bringing technology to behavioral healthcare’

‘Bringing voice to the connected home. 500 Startups Batch #12.’

‘Bringing the “shared economy” to B2B’

Wow. What is this ‘bringing’ nonsense?

‘Your’ also seems highly used. Personalising the message?

‘A make-up artist in the palm of your hand.’

‘high quality supplements tailored to your genetics medical history and needs. ’

‘Have your friends capture your stories’

‘Start your own Hedge Fund.’

‘Turn your network into your super power’, ‘Defragmenting your Datacenter Workloads’

Mobile is super common. Platform is super common.

What about mobile platform? Only 10.

‘the intelligent mobile ad platform | powered by data from everywhere’

‘mobile ordering and payment application platform for food trucks & cafes’

‘an android platform that connects mobile and desktop’

‘contextual shopping platform for wearable and mobile devices’

‘a mobile platform for women’

‘remix platform for mobile’

‘small business mobile engagement platform’

‘smart mobile health platform: custom apps in a week without coding! ’

‘mobile customer engagement platform’

‘growth intelligence platform for mobile app publishers’

I’m not sure what any of them do.

Data makes an obvious appearance at with 41 taglines including the word. Quickly followed up by ‘people’, ‘marketplace’, ‘analytics’, ‘social’, ‘app’. Perhaps a job building some sort of friends first hiring service awaits me!

How many startups in San Francisco don’t include mobile/platform/data/people/marketplace/analytics/social/app?

485! At least it’s not all of them!

Let’s take a look:

‘stripe for card issuance’

‘democratizing biotechnology’

‘replaces paper patient lists for doctors in hospitals. ’

‘learn from anyone.’

‘quantified sales ’

‘online synchronous video learning’

‘delightful delivery management’

‘bringing the “shared economy” to b2b’

‘we fix sleep’

‘turn your network into your super power’

‘the most exceptional developers every week.’

‘personalized merchandising as a service’

Not much better.

What are the next set of words? Health, online, video, service, management, network, marketing.


I give up. Before we finish, just how common is the ‘Tinder for Guinea Pigs’ style of tagline?

‘houzz for automotive enthusiasts’

‘meetup for restaurant dining’

‘uber for mortgages’

‘tinder for sober people’

‘mint for business’

‘instagram for a dynamic mcommerce.’

‘instagram for fashion’

‘mint for paid advertising’

‘stripe for card issuance’

‘lego for data product makers’

‘ridesharing for seniors’

‘airbnb for brand ambassadors’,‘pinterest for weblinks’

‘linkedin for millions of conferences’

‘linkedin for your character profile ’

‘waze for drones.’

‘optimizely for messages’

‘tumblr for video’

‘newrelic for agriculture: evaporation sensor for irrigation optimization’

‘pinterest for financial services pros’

‘yelp for high school extracurriculars’

‘yelp for b2b (please follow us on angellist)’

‘stripe for health care transactions – ycs12’

Please make it stop.

I was going to conclude by going through some examples, and attempting to improve them, but I think that’s enough startup nonsense for one night…