Reputation management startup BrandYourself has raised another $2 million.
It’s been two years since the company raised $3.3 million in Series A funding. Since then, co-founder and CEO Patrick Ambron said BrandYourself has grown to an 80-person team, and it’s become profitable. (Ambron also pitched BrandYourself on Shark Tank last year, though he ended up turning down funding because of the valuation.)
So why raise more cash? Ambron said, “We didn’t need a ton of money — technically, we didn’t need any — but we’re not generating as much cashflow to invest in this as much as I’d like right now.”
More specifically, he’s hoping to expand BrandYourself’s product lineup. While the company name makes me think of soulless self-promotion, BrandYourself actually offers something more simple and less annoying — it helps you put your best foot forward (and potentially push down any negative results) on Google and elsewhere online, by creating a personal website, social media profiles and other content. Think of it as a more basic and affordable version of services like Reputation.com.
The next step, Ambron said, is to help users avoid the potential pitfalls of social media, so you don’t end up “shooting yourself in the foot” because you posted something dumb on Facebook or Twitter.
Some of those strategies, like avoiding offensive racial slurs, are pretty obvious, but Ambron said that on top of detecting clear red flags, BrandYourself is building “a layer of context” that uses “machine learning — in this case, human-supervised machine — to basically collect so much data that we can say, ‘Is this appropriate for who this person is?’”
As examples, Ambron talked about company executives who get in trouble for making comments about their financials before they’re released publicly, or someone working at a women’s rights organization who doesn’t realize there’s an old Facebook post with not-terribly-enlightened language that could jeopardize their shot at a promotion.
The goal is to catch potentially damaging remarks as you make them, and to help you scrub old, risky stuff from your profile as your professional circumstances change. Ambron said that if this ends up “really hitting a chord” with users, he might try to accelerate growth further by raising a bigger round.
As for this funding, it comes from FF Angels (Founders Fund’s early-stage investment fund), as well as previous backers New Atlantic Ventures and Barney Pell.
“We are all aware of the impact our online reputation can have on everything from job prospects to personal relationships, but few of us know how to control our digital footprint,” said Founders Fund’s Cyan Banister in an emailed statement. “BrandYourself.com makes it dead simple to monitor and manage what others see when they search for you.”