TechCrunch reported on a $19 million funding round for a startup called Less, “a ride-sharing service for commuters and other short distance rides.” The company was founded by Jean-Baptiste Rudelle, who reportedly founded “one of the most successful French startups,” Criteo. Smartly, Less is using the perfect domain name for this venture: Less.com.
When I noticed the url for Less, it rung a bell. I searched through my email, and I see that it had been offered for sale via several brokers. In 2015, Less.com was offered for sale via Brannans for $325,000. In 2016, I see an email from Mark Daniel of Domain Holdings who offered the domain name for sale without a price. In December of 2016, Brannans was once again offering the domain name for sale in its newsletter with a $160,000 price. Most recently, in August of this year, Brannans had Less.com in its newsletter as a “make offer” listing.
Based on Whois records, it appears that Less.com changed hands in mid-October. On October 21, the Whois record was put under privacy proxy, so it is unclear who the registrant is right now. There is no public sale record for Less.com in NameBio, and I don’t see any sale report in DNJournal. I presume the startup acquired the domain name, but with privacy on the Whois record, it is not confirmed.
One thing that people repeat over and over in the domain space is that timing is everything. I have no idea of the sale price, but someone wanted this great domain name to match its business, and it looks like they were able to get it. I don’t know if owning the Less.com domain name had anything to do with the successful funding round, but I am sure it will be helpful for the startup going forward. At the very least, the company won’t be handicapped by a more confusing domain name.
Less.com was a smart acquisition. I am sure the founder’s experience likely influenced the decision to get the domain name right away, and his financial success at Criteo probably helped enable him to make an expensive acquisition at this early stage. If I am able to learn the sale price, I will provide an update.