It may not seem like we need yet another social network, but with a reported 9 million users in just 9 months, Spanish startup beBee has clearly found a demand for what they offer. beBee is attempting to position itself as an alternative to LinkedIn, offering “affinity groups” that allow users to create profiles around their work history and connect with others through common interests.
Profiles on beBee will likely be familiar to anyone who has used LinkedIn or similar services, as users are able to list their biography, professional experience, education, and services offered, as well as follow or share the profiles of other users.
When it comes to groups, I found that you can filter through listings by language, hive (profession), or simply do a search by keyword. Within a group, users can post, access a directory, or check out job listings. Groups can be filtered even further by hive, country, or even city.
There is also a “Jobs” tab for those who wish to skip the social part and check out work opportunities. Within this section, it is possible to do a search by keyword or to filter listings down by hive, date of posting, minimum salary, and country or city. Clicking upon a listing brings up basic information about the position, allows the user to apply, as well as indicates how many people have submitted applications through beBee.
beBee has opted to monetize the service through advertising, with a representative of the company telling me that they are on track to hit $2 million in revenue and revealing that they are already profitable. I am told that they are looking into paid memberships or premium features, but do not wish to go head-to-head with LinkedIn and want to continue to allow companies to post jobs for free.
beBee’s explosive growth within the last year may partly be due to the fact that the company is backed by $11 million, injected by the founders. In addition to the founders’ native Spain, beBee has thus far targeted emerging markets like Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and India, but has also moved into the United States and intends to enter the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, among others, in the future.