Retail

Social Startup Beek Eyes Latin America eCommerce Future

Mexico City-based Beek is an early-stage tech startup that has built a social network for readers.

Founded in 2015, Beek allows users to recommend, rate and review books using emoji and to access reviews of others on its mobile app and website and from YouTube. Users can browse by title and genre or import their own reading lists from GoodReads, another social network and literary review application.

Beek is popular in Latin America and currently reports about 250,000 monthly active users, said TechCrunch. Users have already reviewed about 200,000 titles. The company hopes to eventually be able to integrate with book lists on Amazon, iBooks or Google’s Play Books.

According to cofounder Pamela Valdes, these integration plans are just the beginning for Beek. The company eventually hopes to grow its presence as a source of user-generated online reviews across Latin America. From their, Beek has its sights set on eCommerce.

“Amazon is not really popular in Latin America,” Valdes told TechCrunch. “There’s a huge opportunity in becoming the trusted review site for people and then using that platform to sell products.”

Going up against online retail giant Amazon and Latin America’s popular eCommerce and online auction marketplace, the Argentina-based MercadoLibre, would be no simple feat for any burgeoning technology startup.

But with global competitor Amazon focusing its international efforts largely in the South and Southeast Asian markets and MercadoLibre’s focus split between eCommerce and P2P reselling, there may be room for a challenger company to dominate in the Latin American eCommerce space.

This could be especially plausible given the recent rise in social commerce channels, priming consumers to buy where they network, and if said challenger can build up a significant social following.

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