So how is Amen doing these days? Founder Felix Peterson explains.

Amen burst upon the European startup scene like a supernova – “the ultimate hype-cocktail”, as one headline put it.

While still in stealth mode, it managed to secure $ 2 million from celebrity investor Ashton Kutcher (aka ‘the new Steve Jobs), Madonna’s manager and Index Ventures, as well as Dave Morin of Path. Like Gidsy, Soundcloud and Researchgate, it’s one of the names that pop up when the subject of Berlin as a tech hub is discussed.

If you’re not familiar with Amen, the best description I can come up with is that Amen is a Pinterest for opinions. Using the app is a distinctly lean back activity, just like Pinterest. You just lazily browse through topics and click the ‘Amen’ button for the opinions that you support. Here’s a screenshot:

So how is Amen doing today, a year and a half after it was launched?

Let’s say the signal is mixed. On the one hand, Amen just released Thanks, a sister app for Amen that searches through Amen and mines it for recommendations for movies, books, apps, restaurants and bars. Thanks uses the same data as Amen, then, but with a different interface and use case. Says Peterson: “The data were always there, but the UX didn’t present them in that way.”

On the other hand, the userbase doesn’t seem massive. Using their Twitter account as a rough measure of traction shows that their following only increased by just 120 followers in the last half year, from about 1500 to 1729 (according to Tweetgrader). Founder Felix Peterson confirms in an interview that there have been layoffs at Amen, but he denies that they were caused by financial troubles:

“There were layoffs, but not for economic reasons. We just have very, very high standards for performance. And nobody has left Amen, so far. I think we built a cool company. We’re a team of ten product people, and we’re very well funded, with hardly any overhead. We did a bigger seed round than most German startups, because we knew this could take some time. It’s an approach we share with Dave Morin of Path, who is an investor in Amen.”

Asked whether Ashton Kutcher and the other investors leave the Amen team free reign, Peterson says that the company is not like Delivery Hero. What he means is : Amen is an early stage company, not a company that just raised € 30 to 40 million to become a big player.

“When you’re like Delivery Hero, the discussions with the board become different. We’re doing something high risk, but with enormous potential. We’re still looking for product-market fit, and that’s a puzzle only the team can solve, not the investor. Good investors know that, and let you work.”

[Netzwertig] [photo: Amen / feature picture: HeartBeaz, Flickr]

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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