Mobile Startup Targets Old-School Online Forums

December 16, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Remember online forums? For anybody with an Internet connection in the 90s and early 00s, forums were as central to online life as Facebook and Twitter are today. (Especially if you had a weird or offbeat hobby, like keeping exotic snakes or collecting Star Wars action figures.)

For better or worse, forums have mostly gone the way of the dinosaur, moving to social networks like Myspace on the social end and anonymous, sometimes shady networks like Digg and Reddit on the more niche, interest-based side. These new platforms have one thing in common: neither of them are mobile-first.

An NYC-based app development startup called Amino Apps aims to change that — and venture capitalists seem to agree that the time is ripe for such a change, to the tune of $19.2 million in series B funding on top of $6.5 million in Series A. Goodwater Capital, Box Group, and GV are included in the funding pool.

This isn’t Amino’s first rodeo when it comes to mobile-first niche communities; the startup has launched north of 250 standalone apps for communities ranging from ballet to veganism. Many of these standalone mobile app offerings have ballooned into major communities more active than their parallel subreddits, with over 100,000 members.

Part of Amino’s secret to success is that it builds on the already-proven format of common-interest message boards without pivoting into something completely different. Instead, the app developers have added interesting features like polls and varying post types.

So far as monetization, Amino App’s founder has suggested a range of ideas from stickers to advertising to direct sales and e-commerce.

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