Article posted on July 5th, 2016. Posted on Portal Tic, of the news agency Europa Press..
beBee, the social network that makes networking through personal interests possible, has just arrived in the US market after reaching more than 11 million users in its first year. beBee is now planning its take off with a goal to reach 40 million users in the next two years.
“Why not dream big?”, says its CEO and cofounder, Javier Cámara, in an interview with Portaltic in which he explains the reasons of beBee’s success, he explains some milestones the brand has reached and he analyses the current technological market in Spain.
What makes beBee different from other social networks?
beBee is the only social network that unites personal and professional interests. We don’t share the idea of separating your personal and professional brand, because they can both lead us to find a job. In a conference a businessman asked us: ‘Where can I find sales people that like cycling?’. On beBee it’s really simple, you can go to the ‘Cycling’ hive and filter by ‘sales people’ to find what you’re looking for.
Also, personal interest help create the engagement we need for people to use the platform for purposes other than just job hunting. More than 60% of the hives that are created based on personal interests, not professional ones. This is a big difference.
Professional opportunities based on personal interests… Is this a way of being hired by connections?
The people that are part of your life are not going to give you more job opportunities, you already burnt that bridge. But the people you don’t know yet and with whom you could get into business in the future, are the ones who will help you make money.
It’s professional networking through personal interests. If you are close to someone and you have common interests, everything comes more naturally. Professional networks are normally cold and elitist. What about blue-collar workers? On beBee everyone can network and meet people in their field.
In this first year, what has been your biggest surprise?
US and Canadian users’ feedback is what surprised us the most. We have 100,000 users without having invested a cent in marketing over there. We’re making a lot of noise and the see us as LinkedIn’s first true competitor. We are amazed by the welcoming in the US and we just opened an office in New York.
In Spain growth has also been very positive, but Spanish users are more passive. On the other hand, people tend to give more value to foreign projects, so being a Spanish network makes it harder. We are good at this, we have a lot of talent and we don’t give enough value to what we have here at home.
What are you growth expectations?
We hope to go from 10 to 40 million users in two years. We have to think big and go for a user base of 200,000 users in 4 or 5 years. If you aim high you might not get there, but if you aim low you most certainly won’t. Why not dream big? There isn’t a big European social network, and beBee could fill in that gap.
What do you think about the current situation of the tech market in Spain? Is it getting enough help from institutions?
Spanish people are creative and talented. What is missing is financing and a strong job market. In any case, Spain has a good external image and there are a few companies that are well known in the US.
About the financing, the truth is that it always goes to Ibex35 companies. Medium and small businesses get peanuts. Help for entrepreneurs is nearly nonexistent. If Spain is moving because of the effort of its citizens.