Patrick Ambron is the Founder and CEO of BrandYourself, which helps individuals protect, clean up and improve their online privacy and online reputation. Some of their more popular features include removing personal information from data brokers, finding and deleting old accounts, social media clean up tools, and many others. They can also help customers deal with other types of issues that can happen on the web, like removing non-consensual pornography for victims of revenge porn. In an age of revenge porn, inadequate online privacy laws and cyberbullying, they see themselves as building a modern consumer privacy company that helps consumers navigate the huge number of unintended consequences of the web so people can finally feel in control and secure online.
Patrick has been recognized as a leading expert in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), online privacy and online reputation management. In 2011, his company was named #1 Emerging Technology Business in New York, making his team the youngest company to win the 200 thousand dollar prize. He was recognized as one of Empact 100 Top Ceos under 30 by the white house, named to Inc Magazine’s top 35 under 35 and Young Entrepreneur of the year by the SBA.
He turned down $2M on Shark Tank, the largest individual investment ever made at the time, and received 4 record-setting offers on BBC’s Dragons Den.
Patrick managed to lead his company BrandYourself to grow to over 100 full-time employees and secure over $7 million in venture capital. They were recently named as the overall StartUp winner at the SXSW. His ideas on Online reputation has been featured on many popular networks such as WSJ, New York Post, TechCrunch, Mashable, CBS News, ABC News, Fox News, HuffingtonPost, FastCompany, and many others.
If Forbes set up an interview for you tomorrow, how would you want to be perceived as?
I would want to be viewed as a humble and “under the radar” entrepreneur that focuses on building tools that online consumers need in today’s age of inadequate online laws, protections, and privacy. We were one of the first to realize that online consumers needed the same online protection that a lot of corporations have, but that the same business model would not work for them. An everyday professional cannot simply pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars just to improve their online privacy and reputation. Since then, we have worked with almost 1 million consumers, grown to 100 full-time employees and done tens of millions in revenue.
Unlike the classic “VC Tech Model”, we have not burned through tens–or hundreds– of millions of VC dollars to reach our goal. We have raised some capital, we are a profitable company. We have done it by being focused, lean and by creating a unique tools that solve important problems for consumers.
While there is nothing wrong with raising capital, I think in the startup world, it is sometimes heralded as the most important metric of success, regardless of how strong your business is or how much you help your customers. It’s easy for a founder to get stressed out if they feel like they are falling behind. You can get sucked into the “hype vortex” and focus on getting press and raising money, even if it doesn’t make sense for your business. I’d want other entrepreneurs to know that it’s ok if you haven’t raised a bunch of money or made it to the cover of a magazine. It’s ok to go the “slow and steady” route, focus on sustainability and consumer value. It doesn’t mean you’re failing.