“The Caribou name stands for freedom, stability and trust,” said Caribou CEO Kevin Bennett in a news release. “The rebrand represents an exciting next step as we work towards expanding Caribou into a full-fledged digital agency, where we can provide consumers with flexibility and additional ways to save money on their cars.”
Caribou is a mission-driven fintech company that helps consumers transform their financial relationship with their cars. “Working on Caribou truly was a treat, and we couldn’t be happier with the final outcome,” Catchword co-founder Maria Cypher said. “It’s a great example of ‘both and’—strategic and creative, meaningful and playful, highly graphic and richly layered,” she explained.
The company has leaned in to the new name, renaming its employees the Caribou Crew and punning on social. “We love how the company has embraced its new identity! We can’t wait to see where it goes next,” Cypher added.
About the Project and New Name
More than 100 million Americans have an auto loan—amounting to $1.3 trillion in auto loan debt in 2019—and for many it’s a serious financial pain point. Refinancing at a lower rate can mean meaningful savings for cash-strapped families and can even make the difference between keeping their car and repossession, but the process is non-intuitive, highly complex, and not equally accessible to all.
A group of leaders in the tech, automotive, and finance industries determined to do better. They founded MotoRefi in 2016 in Washington, DC, to help people save on these auto payments and more. They believed that the flexibility and freedom cars provide should not be restricted by high rates or byzantine refinancing.
With this clear vision, plus investors such as Goldman Sachs, QED Investors, and Moderne Ventures, the company developed a simple, transparent process and a cutting-edge platform. Powered by partnership with trusted lenders like credit unions and community banks, the company swiftly achieved its goal of saving customers an average of $100+/month.
Using the company’s secure online platform, consumers were now able to quickly and easily lock in a better rate for their loan. MotoRefi then expanded its offerings to include auto insurance comparison, retitling without a trip to the DMV, and tools and information to make smarter auto-related financial decisions. The company leadership knew they could offer more ways for consumers to save, but its now overly specific name was holding it back. They asked Catchword to help them rebrand to reflects its mission.
We worked closely with the client team to articulate the brand’s fundamental benefits: greater customer control over their finances and facilitating the freedom of car ownership. We then determined that a conceptual, creative name would be the best springboard for storytelling, rich graphics, and emotional engagement. This style would feel fresh, accessible, and human, further differentiating the brand in the space.
Caribou is delightfully unexpected, clearly standing out in an industry full of names like RateGenius and AutoWallet. The name conjures images of agile speed and natural freedom, reinforcing the ideas of financial freedom and the independence gained from owning a car.
Caribou are real animals, approximately the size of a person, reinforcing the brand’s authentic, warm personality, intuitive processes, and human scale. They’re beautiful, strong—able to survive harsh winters—and elegant, further supporting the brand’s position as friendly and approachable yet serious about helping clients from start to finish. As migratory herd animals, caribou move and work together, just as the company coordinates seamlessly with partners and guides its customers on their journey to independence.
The name subtly recalls both car (visually) and care (aurally), underscoring its customer-centric approach. It opens with a hard “k” sound and finishes with a soft and friendly “boo” sound, balancing strength and compassion. And as a real English word metaphor used in a new way, it feels intelligent and contemporary. The name’s themes are fundamental to the brand yet broad enough to accommodate further company evolution.
The new name is only the latest in a very busy couple of years for Caribou. The company quadrupled in revenue in 2020 and again in 2021, rolled out a new partnership with Uber, connected its platform with Even Financial, Savvy, and SoFi customers, and expanded to new additional offices (Denver and Austin). It has now helped 40,000+ drivers save more than $80 million in auto-related payments.