Published On: December 8, 2020
Home>News>Tilliden Is Now FirstRoot

Optimism, Trust, and Growth

We are excited by how effectively our new name, FirstRoot, conveys optimism, inspires trust, and focuses on growth:

  • Increases knowledge of civics, design thinking, and financial literacy through Participatory Budgeting (PB)
  • Builds a better school community through investments from the PB process
  • Cultivates personal wealth through our financial-independence solutions
  • Improves our planet as financially-independent students continue to make high-impact investments throughout their adult lives

We’re also excited about the amazing logo created by our design team. Look closely. (Can you find the Easter egg?)


Opportunity for a Larger Tree

Our new name has inspired us to revisit our mission and how we hope to make the world just a bit better. We’re finding ways to strengthen and extend our roots, envisioning more ways our tree and the trees we will plant can grow strong and healthy to provide benefits for generations to come.

FirstRoot — an epically good name for a company dedicated to doing epically good work.


The Rest of the Story

If you want even more details on why we changed our name and the process we used to create FirstRoot, read on…

I confess: I like company names that have deep meanings. And I’ve often found them in words from other languages.

That was the reason why I initially chose Tilliden as our company name. Tilliden is the singular possessive form of the word “tillid,” which means “trust” in Danish — a fact I learned from my friend Rune Christensen. It was the perfect name for a company focused on helping youth and communities build trust in each other through participatory budgeting. Unfortunately, this ideal word has two significant challenges.

First, our lawyers told us that we would likely face problems securing a trademark because Tilliden was similar to the names of a few existing financial services companies.

Second, a dear friend told us that Tilliden was very similar to Tilidene, a synthetic opioid painkiller used in many European countries. For a brand that helps create financially-independent, civically-engaged students through participatory school budgeting, this is a  significant problem.

A company name is important. It convey values, mission, and personality. And changing a company name? Even more critical!

As an advocate of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®), I’m especially enamored of SAFe principle #9: Decentralize decision-making. As a result, we centralize decisions that are strategic, have far-reaching impact, are made infrequently, and require special knowledge or skills. We strive to decentralize everything else.

Changing the name of a company is an example of a decision that should be centralized and guided by experts.

Based on a recommendation from our marketing team at Deducive, we hired Want Branding, a globally-recognized branding and naming firm. We followed their process and ended up with our awesome new name.

Once we nailed it, our internal design team took over. They created the mark, the logo, and the stylized treatments that make our brand distinctive. They even created an Easter egg for the logo. (Can you find it?)

When we talk about innovation, we often refer to “sunk costs.”  I’ve found that sunk costs are often not the problem; it’s the sunk emotions that hold us back.

I’m proud that everyone at Tilliden (oops! I mean, FirstRoot!) joined together to change our name. We prevented sunk emotions from holding us back to create something even better.