How John Travolta Influenced This Entrepreneur's Business Name


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If you've ever wanted to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but didn't have the money for it, there is a website that offers hope.

Trevolta is a site that allows you to crowdfund your bucket list dream. Consider it the Kickstarter for wannabe travelers.

CEO Mark Karimov spoke with Name.Kitchen about how the business got its unique name -- one reminiscent of a certain movie star who donned a white polyester jumpsuit in "Saturday Night Fever."

Mark Karimov, Co-FOunder and CEO of Trevolta

Describe your business.

Trevolta started off as a crowdfunding platform for travelers. We wanted to allow everyone with a clever, unique, extraordinary or charitable trip ideas to be able to raise funds from family, friends, strangers and sponsors and achieve what they set their minds to.

Since then Trevolta grew into a massive travel community where travelers not just raise funds, but share their journeys, write blogs, update their followers on the progress, connect with each other and help each other along the way.

How did you come up with the name Trevolta?

Surprisingly it wasn’t a painful process many companies go through. The whole process of coming up with the name took no longer than five minutes. Since it was only me back then in the office, and I didn’t share an idea with anyone else, I didn’t have to discuss the name with anyone else.

I thought, “What should I call it and what sounds like travel?” For some reason, an image of John Travolta appeared in my mind. I thought using his surname just like that would be weird, so I just changed first “a” to an “e,” checked if the domain was available, then registered it straight away.

So ... John Travolta provided inspiration for your travel site? Explain.

Well, first of all, John Travolta is awesome! I don't think he personally has to do anything with travel, except that he is a pilot. It was just in the sound -- "travel," "Travolta," "travel," "Travolta." I was looking for a word that sounds like travel.

Secondly, when we implemented referral mechanism to get more people onto the website, we started using #travolta hashtag on Twitter instead of #trevolta, wanting to steal some of his fans. Surprisingly, we outnumbered all his fans on Twitter in a number of hours. But there weren’t that many anyway, since John is not even on Twitter.

How have others interpreted the name?

About two months after the business went live, one of our dearest friends asked us, “Did you know that if you switch the letters around in the word Trevolta, you will get “Travel to”? We didn’t, and to be honest, it’s a better story for coming up with the name than “John Travolta.” It's one that makes more sense, but it’s not the real one. It’s a good bonus to the name, though.

How has the name of your business contributed to its success?

The name is easy to explain: “It’s like John Travolta, just an “e” instead of the first “a." It sounds proper, sharp, and this is who we are -- a proper, sharp company grinding its way through a travel industry.

Have you ever reached out to Mr. Travolta? To let him know how he inspired your business?

We would if he had Twitter, but I have no idea how to reach out to him. Certainly, it would be great to meet him one day.