Brand-Yourself, the Syracuse based company started by Syracuse University students, won the $200,000 grand prize at the 2011 Creative Core Emerging Business Competition.

The firm, started when CEO Pete Kistler, a student at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool), was searching for jobs and realized employers were Googling him and mistaking him for a convicted felon. He joined Patrick Ambron ‘09 (Newhouse), Robert Sherman ’09, G’11 (iSchool), and Evan Watson ’12 (Whitman) in creating a web-based platform that allows individuals to manage their online reputations in one interface.

“$200,000 is a significant investment in an emerging company,” said Robert M. Simpson, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York. “This investment will return dividends for our region and help ensure that the competition’s next generations of entrepreneurs are supported.”

Last year, Brand-Yourself was the only company created by college students to reach the finals of the competition and this year, they are the first Syracuse-based firm to win the competition that contest launched in 2007 with a $100,000 grand prize. Sound Reading Solutions, LLC of Ithaca, which provides reading-therapy software, won the 2010 competition. Other past winners include Widetronix, e2e Materials, and Mezmeriz, also all based in Ithaca.

“It has always been our goal to help turn Central New York into a hub for young, high-growth start ups by serving as an example of success,” said Kistler. “Receiving this funding allows us to stay in the area and concentrate on growing our business.”

You can learn more about Brand-Yourself’s history here.