In this interview series, we ask companies we love working with to give us some insight into what they’re all about. They’ll share how the company got started, what it's like to work there, and what makes them different. It’s your inside look to some of the coolest startups.

Today we’re featuring Toby Stein, who’s VP of Operations at one of our partner companies Amino Apps.

What does Amino Apps do?

Amino connects and entertains people around their interests and passions by building immersive, mobile-first communities.

When and why was Amino founded?

The initial idea for Amino dates back to 2011, when our founders (Ben Anderson and Yin Wang) stumbled on an anime convention taking place in Boston. They were amazed by the energy and excitement surrounding the event and the fact that attendees were creating instant, meaningful relationships with each other based on the foundation of their shared interest.

But our founders also realized the limitations of this kind of event: at the end of the weekend, everyone went home, and maintaining these relationships (or building new ones like them) would be much tougher. So, Amino emerged as a way to take that environment and bottle it up for 24-7 consumption.

By creating interest-based communities on mobile that allow people to interact in real time around their interests, the goal is to recreate, year-round, that fandom-convention atmosphere and the types of relationships it enables.

How long have you worked at Amino?

Almost two and a half years now!

What’s your favorite thing about working for Amino?

We have an amazing team of talented and passionate people. We motivate each other and have lots of fun along the way.

I know I'm only supposed to pick one favorite thing, but here's another: we're still at a size where every member of our team can have a tangible, meaningful impact on the trajectory of the company. That level of ownership and contribution is pretty rare.

Tell us about the last activity or outing your team did!

Our Shanghai office goes bowling all the time, but we had never done it in the U.S. So despite a snowstorm, our whole U.S. team went bowling at Chelsea Piers. There were some low-key amazing bowlers on the team who put the rest of us to shame!

Any favorite spots near your office?

Raines Law Room is a favorite if you're looking for a swanky drink. We also like the rooftop of Eataly for happy hour in the summer. And our Russian team would be mad if I didn't mention Teremok, which serves borscht, pancakes, and other Russian specialties for lunch. I, on the other hand, spend most of my life at Dig Inn.

How about must-see hidden gems in your area?

Not super hidden, but when it's nice out, it's great to get out of the office for meetings and walk up to Madison Square Park. The art installations are pretty cool and the big oval is a perfect walk-and-talk spot.

What do the next 12 months look like for Amino?

The year ahead is going to be crazy! Tons of growth (user base, team, product, languages, etc.) and some really cool projects. You'll have to stay tuned for specifics!

The Amino Apps team enjoying some bowling at Chelsea Piers during a snowstorm. That's dedication!

Amino Apps is one of the most fun, dynamic startups in New York City — and they’re hiring! Check out these great opportunities and keep an eye on their Planted profile, where new jobs are being added all the time.