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Amino Apps raises $19.2M to build more mobile communities

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Amino Apps, a startup aiming to reinvent online forums for the mobile world, has raised $19.2 million in Series B funding.

The New York City-based company started out by building individual apps focused on topics like anime and Doctor Who, but earlier this year it launched a new, all-purpose Amino app that allows anyone to launch a community. Now more than 250,000 communities have been created, covering everything from veganism to Star Wars to ballet, with the biggest ones attracting more than 100,000 members.

Amino does take a role in helping the high-quality communities rise to the top — maybe a necessity now, since there are so many of them. Leaders can submit their communities to Amino for approval, and while not every community needs to be approved, those approved communities will show up first in search results and in the curated Explore section of the Amino app.

Popular communities can still get their own standalone apps — Amino has now launched 250 of them. CEO Ben Anderson described the main Amino app as the “incubator,” which can then spin off new apps that find new fans who aren’t yet aware of Amino.

Anderson said Amino apps have now seen around 13 million downloads, with users spending an average of 60 minutes each day in the apps.

The new funding follows a $6.5 million Series A last year. The Series B was led by GV (the firm previously known as Google Ventures), with participation from Venrock, Union Square Ventures and Box Group, as well as new backers Time Warner Investments and Goodwater Capital.

Looking ahead, Anderson said noted that Amino already goes beyond plain-text posts by allowing users to create things like polls and customized profiles. He said he wants to continue adding new features and formats.

“We’re trying to create a product that appeals and works for every single interest in the world,” he said. “We want to continue to double down on those strategies and give people lots of ways to communicate with each other in a seamless way.”

Amino Apps isn’t making any money yet, but Anderson eventually plans to add ways for the community leaders to generate revenue, starting with digital goods like stickers and moving into advertising and e-commerce — with Amino taking a cut of each transaction.