I’m very excited to announce we officially closed a $3.3M Series A round last week. We brought together a great group of investors who not only believe in our mission, but have the experience and expertise to help us achieve it. This round was led by New Atlantic Ventures, a VC firm with a great reputation based in Boston and Washington, DC. We were lucky enough to have several firms interested in the round, but when it came to understanding the business and its potential, NAV blew everyone else away. Our incredibly supportive past investors are also joining the round, including Zelkova Ventures, Barney Pell (former Head Search Strategist at Microsoft and founder of Moon Express and QuickPay) as well as strategic new angels like Ryan Holmes (CEO of social media management tool Hootsuite). A special thanks to all our other investors and mentors (you know who you are).
The future of BrandYourself and online identity
This investment will help us accelerate growth so we can continue our mission to completely change our industry. We are currently the best company in the ORM space. We have the best technology, the best product, the best people and the best business model. We’re just not the biggest. Yet. This investment will help us achieve this goal by allowing us to build out customer acquisition channels, scale our infrastructure and develop new tools to expand our suite of products, without sacrificing our commitment to quality.
However, this round is not just important for BrandYourself. It represents how fast the online privacy/identity/reputation space is changing and evolving. We came into this industry because we believed it was broken. Average people didn’t have the tools they needed to control their own names online. Since launching 2 short years ago, we’ve helped over 300K people ranging from recent college grads looking for a first job to CEOs who want to put their best foot forward online. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen 500% revenue growth and went from 8 employees to over 40, with no signs of slowing.
That said, I believe we’ve only scratched the surface. Just look at the news in the last week. The recent Google ruling in the EU spawned 12k requests to remove irrelevant personal information in the first day alone. There have also been several well known figures suddenly haunted by private information they sent/posted years ago. The point is, it’s getting harder and harder to control what’s out there about you on the web, and the industry has a long way to go before everyone is protected. While emerging industries can be unpredictable, there a few core concepts we believe at Brandyourself for the ORM space:
- The tools and services to control your information online need to be available to everyone, not just the wealthy: This is why we launched our first DIY tool and will be the benchmark for everything we do in the future.
- People need simple tools that put them in control of their information: The companies that win will be the ones who provide consumers simple tools with simple value propositions. For example, our current DIY tool helps you control what shows up when someone Googles your name. People understand this is important, but it can’t end there. Everyone needs tools to ensure they aren’t haunted by a status update or message they sent 10 years ago, or that information isn’t used to steal their identity. In the next 5 years, we will see these tools emerge and we hope to be behind many of them.
- Transparency is key: We came into this industry because we believed companies were mystifying the process and overcharging. The companies to come out on top will be the ones who empower people to put their best foot forward, not the ones who make people think they can’t do it themselves.
Thank you to our users
We have an amazing community of users and clients. Everything from a positive review to constructive feedback makes us stronger and helps us create the tools and services people need to manage their online presence. Your reputation is one of your most important assets and we know entrusting any company to help you manage it is a big decision. Thank you for choosing us.
A special shout out to the team
Of course, none of this would be possible without an amazing team. It’s not easy to go from a small company making a few hundred thousand dollars to a much bigger company making millions of dollars almost overnight. It takes hard work, patience and a lot of late nights. I can’t say how proud and grateful I am for everyone on our team.
Co-Founder & CEO