BeConnections, founded in the spring of 2013, is a social network for companies worldwide that enables users to locate other registered companies on the network by region and sector. The concept that has been coined the “Facebook for Businesses”, allows companies to expand their reach across borders, regions and oceans.
KITE: How did you arrive to the idea of BeConnections? How did you identify this gap in social networking?
BeConnections: I was privileged to lead investment reports on various emerging markets, which aimed to highlight business opportunities on the ground. Local advertisers eagerly financed the pieces with the hopes of attracting the attention of their counterparts overseas. Therefore, considering that our society is each day more interconnected to each other, I found it logical and necessary to provide businesses with the same free tools, that Facebook and Linkedin provide to people but that up until BeConnections, companies did not have.
Whereas other mainstream social networks cater for Business to Clients (B2C), BeConnections provides companies with a network to cater to each other.
KITE: The connections are happening at the company level – a real business-to-business scheme. While Facebook and LinkedIn connect people, it is the exact person who manages their profile. In the case of company-based connections, how does BeConnections allow companies to interact and not make it about individual company users?
BeConnections: Whereas Linkedin encourages people to create professional accounts, and facebook personal ones, BeConnections offers companies the opportunity to centralize their activity under one profile. Company profiles include links to their website and social networks, photos, a brief description, contact information and company posts. Our internal messaging service allows companies to connect to each other instantly and for free. Connections are kept overtime, defying the use of business cards, which are often lost or outdated, considering that people change jobs but companies still want to stay in contact regardless of the human connection.
Companies (members) can also search for each other, using our search engine that filters members registered on BeConnections by region (9), country and sector (25). From the results, members can select a company, visit its corporate profile and start connecting. Plus, it’s free.
KITE: The network is designed to work irrespective of sector, region and the type of company. The concept of BeConnections is great for small and medium enterprises that may not have the manpower or funding to expand their businesses. Does BeConnections make linkages beyond businesses? For instance can connections be made with government entities and organizations?
BeConnections: Yes absolutely. Our network encourages public entities to sign up too. One of the sectors on the platform is for government organizations. Ministries, embassies, etc. are encouraged to register their activity on BeConnections, connect with other members and learn from each other. BeConnections can also serve as a free way to promote country interests and lure new businesses to their market.
Likewise, we plan to create strategic partnerships with governments and trade organizations to increase exports and penetration into existing and emerging markets for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). In fact, BeConnections officially launched in April of 2014 and has already worked with governments from the MENA region interested in promoting their business sectors abroad.
KITE: Although young the company is already in a growth stage. BeConnections would like to expand upon the core technology, management team and regional offices within Asia the Middle East. BeConnections had seed and strategic investors from the onset, and is now actively seeking new investors to partner with. What is the ideal relationship with future investor(s)? What does BeConnections offer investor(s) in return?
BeConnections: BeConnections is actively looking for investors who embrace our vision to increase trade and promote interconnectivity amongst businesses across the globe. Ideally, partners should be well positioned in particular regions and sectors to help promote the platform in their fields.
Investors will not only make a healthy return on investment, but will also be part of a larger and global economic initiative that will provide SMEs access to untapped markets internationally. Likewise, BeConnections will push investor’s own marketing purposes to a growing and global corporate audience.