The Spanish LinkedIn Stings the Big Apple
JOSÉ A. GONZÁLEZ. MADRID. In 1931 the american historian James Truslow baptised the United States as the land of opportunity in which dreams come true. 85 years later, a Spanish company based in Madrid lands in the heart of the Big Apple to make its way into the global social media market.
We are very excited, we just opened an office in front of the Wall Street Charging Bull.
With more than 11 million users worldwide, this European social network is buzzing loudly in the US: “We have 150,000 users there and it’s looking great. If it works there it’s because there’s a reason”, Camara adds.
beBee is an affinity-based social network that aims to connect users based on their common personal and professional interests. “We took real life to the digital world. In the offline world face-to-face business works better because personal common interests create stronger professional relationships”, says beBee co-founder and CEO. This is a new concept of networking that the founders call “affinity networking”. There are more than 22,000 hives (topic-based groups) with more than 11 million bees (users) in them, and every professional connects with other with whom they share interests.
“To share common interests is the key to understanding beBee”, Camara repeats as a way to state what beBee offers compared to other social networks. beBee also has a place for job opportunities, which is offered to users and companies for free. “Employment is not our business model, that’s why we don’t charge for the use of this tool”.
During its first year, more than 25,000 companies published job offers on beBee and more than 400,000 applicants were shortlisted for jobs on the platform.
beBee has been rewarded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy for its innovative tech-based model in which users are the ones who control their own feed. “The content that users see on their walls is based on their interests and their behaviour on beBee. We show them what is most likely to interest them and they can tailor their own feed”.
Extolled by numerous prestigious international media sites, beBee is called to be the next unicorn startup - valued at over 1 billion dollars -. Camara is cautious about the embrasement his company is getting and keeps on working in its best interests.
“It’s very complicated to be a successful Spanish startup. The main problem is the lack of financing and the economic environment. There is little help for entrepreneurs”.
With headquarters in Madrid and the United States, the social network founded by Javier Camara and Juan Imaz has presence in other international markets such as Mexico, Brazil, India and United Kingdom. To achieve this it’s important to know “where you are going and to have an expert on local ground”, explains Camara. This is how the Ambassador Program is born, an innovative idea focused on growth and on creating hives all over the world.
This ambassador project was launched this year and it has more than 10 ambassadors already, but the project is still open to all users that meet certain requirement that you can find on their site. In exchange, beBee will grant ambassadors equity, that they will be able to cash when the company is sold privately or goes public.
Pollinating the United States
After only one month in New York beBee is starting to find its way around the BIg Apple giants. “We are seeking financing to target the US market. We’re competing with with companies that have more than 8,000 employees and we have 65”, states Camara.
The first big opportunity came this past Summer with the help of the European Union. beBee flew to Silicon Valley, the heart of tech-based companies, to search for a financing round.
Juan Imaz and Javier Camara attended an event, with beBee US CEO Matt Sweetwood by their side. “To grow in the United States it’s key to have someone on your team who knows the market. Matt is perfect, he is a social media expert”.
This is a big challenge that Camara takes bravely but cautiously. “The first big challenge is to make sure people in the US know what beBee offers. There is a lot of media, a lot of noise and many social networks. Americans are constantly bombed with new concepts, so getting beBee’s point across is essential”, Matt Sweetwood says to Innova+.
Matt first discovered beBee after reading a blog article about it:
I realised I could do everything I was doing on other networks in one same place. I could combine my interests to boost my personal brand and share it with others.
Original article in “El Correo”. Published on September 28th 2016 and translated for beBee.com
Read the article in Spanish by clicking here.