Amino raises a huge Series C round of funding — $45 million from GV, Venrock, Union Square Ventures, Goodwater Capital and Time Warner Investments, with Hearst Ventures joining as a new investor.
Co-founder and CEO Ben Anderson have explained Amino as an initiative to introduce people with “passionate niche interests” come in contact with others who feel the same way, via smartphone apps.
The company began its journey with apps focused on a bunch of topics like K-pop, anime and Doctor Who, but it later added the ability for anyone to launch new communities in the main Amino app, and there are now more than 2.5 million communities.
It is inevitable that some of these communities are much more active than others, and there’s some relation between them. But Max Sebela, who is general manager for Amino’s English-language apps, said there’s less overlap than you might think, because “each interest is actually a universe of micro interests.” Eventually, Sebela said that it’s up to the founders and leaders of each community to settle on what the community wants to focus on, and which product features they want to use to enable that. Meanwhile, Anderson said Amino is constantly tweaking its algorithms to make sure it’s surfacing the best communities for each user.
“Instead of one big, blue ocean, we provide a million lakes and help you find the exact right one,” he added.
Perhaps even more striking than the number of communities is the amount of time the average user spends in Amino — more than 70 minutes per day.
“The technology is not super unique,” Anderson acknowledged. “What makes it really special is, I can voice chat with my friends on a lot of different networks, but here I can hop in and join a voice chat with 10 Harry Potter fans who I may not know in my real life.”
While these features are already live, Anderson said they’ve been “downplayed” while Amino tests them out and works out the kinks. Now it’s ready to put them “front-and-center” in the app.
Amino has now raised more than $70 million in total funding.
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