By Riley Kaminer
On average, people living in Latin America make less than $5,000 a year. In the US, Hispanic-American families make around $58,000 per year – around 22% less than the average American household.
Michel Edery has been acutely aware of these issues, especially after landing in Miami in 2010. He arrived here in Miami to grow the marketing agency he helped co-found in Colombia in 2008.
“Eventually, we began to create a tool in-house to optimize our clients’ social media performance,” Edery told Refresh Miami. The company initially tried selling it as a SaaS platform but found that the market in Latin America was not ready for such a tool. “We were trying to sell software that was more advanced than what people were looking for.”
Fast forward to 2018, and the agency started to pivot to education and focus on eCommerce, tapping into the rapid growth of the industry. Edery oversaw this project spin off into what is now Miami-based startup smartBeemo. Edery leads the company as co-founder and CEO alongside Eitan Shoval, co-founder & CFO and Natan Lustgarten, co-founder & CXO.
This platform helps users – mostly Hispanic-Americans and Latin Americans – build their own eCommerce businesses. “It’s fair to say that Latin Americans are struggling financially,” asserted Edery. It is smartBeemo’s goal to reduce this inequality by providing its students with the skills necessary to thrive as eCommerce entrepreneurs.
“There is a huge digital gap and language gap that makes it challenging to learn new skills and launch a modern-day business,” said Edery. “We saw a great opportunity when we understood the life-changing opportunities in eCommerce entrepreneurship.”
At the core of smartBeemo’s platform are courses that users can take to learn how to sell on platforms like Amazon, Walmart and Mercado Libre. Pricing for these courses start at around $599, but there are a wide range of discounts and financing options available. Once users successfully complete the basic courses, they can move on to learn more advanced topics. They can also become part of smartBeemo’s peer-to-peer community of eCommerce experts – an area that smartBeemo hopes to grow going forward.
According to smartBeemo, 70% of students are hoping for their eCommerce business to become their main source of income. So far, the platform has had 80,000 students – 30,000 of whom are currently active. Edery said that collectively, smartBeemo students are launching more than 4,000 eCommerce stores each year.
The typical model for a smartBeemo business is finding a product in China, creating a brand, and selling through Amazon. “You need at least $2,000 to $3,000 for this, not including education,” said Edery. That’s why increasingly smartBeemo is helping students find alternatives like taking a product that is being sold on Amazon for 25% more and selling it on Amazon as a third-party wholesaler.
smartBeemo has also recently launched what they call smartBeemo Lab, where students can pitch their eCommerce businesses to the smartBeemo team and – if successful – get access to additional education and consultancy that will help them scale their business. Earlier this year, smartBeemo was selected for Endeavor Miami’s Spring 2023 ScaleUp Cohort.
The smartBeemo team is currently 500-people strong. “We believe that we can build the world’s largest community for Latino eCommerce entrepreneurs, and we’re committed to that vision,” said Edery. “We help people who come to smartBeemo not only to study and learn but to launch their businesses, generate wealth, and become financially independent.”
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