The inspi­ra­tion behind Amino—a mobile-​​based social ser­vice aimed at con­necting users with spe­cial­ized interests—dates back to the teenage years of Ben Anderson, the tech savvy co-​​founder whose niche hobby of building robots engen­dered little enthu­siasm among his closest friends.

I would show them the cool robots I had built and they didn’t seem to care at all,” recalled Anderson, now a 25-​​year-​​old entre­pre­neur on the rise. “I knew there were people from Mis­sis­sippi to Japan who loved geeking out with robotics like I did, but I had no way of con­necting with them.”

Hence Amino.

Anderson, AMD’12, and his busi­ness partner Yin Wang, PhD’11, co-​​founded the Boston-​​based startup in 2011 and began building the brand in 2013. Its iPhone apps—ranging from the Dr. Who amino to the K-​​pop amino—have been down­loaded more than 500,000 times by users in more than 50 countries.

The Dr. Who amino is the world’s largest mobile social net­work for super fans of the pop­ular sci-​​fi pro­gram, giving users a chance to dis­cuss Daleks, Cybermen, and the TARDIS with their fellow Whovians.

Our vision is to own the interest market and become the best way for users to expe­ri­ence their inter­ests on their mobile devices,” Anderson explained. “I see a future in which we have an app for every pop­ular book, movie fran­chise, you name it.”

In July, Amino announced that it had raised $1.65 mil­lion in seed funding, led by Union Square Ven­tures, the New York city-​​based ven­ture cap­ital firm know for its invest­ments in Tumblr, Twitter, and Kick­starter. The majority of the cap­ital will be used to expand the team, Anderson said, with a focus on recruiting mar­keting experts and devel­opers for the iOS and Android oper­ating systems.

Anderson con­nected with Union Square through his par­tic­i­pa­tion in Tech­stars, a highly selec­tive mentorship-​​driven startup accel­er­ator for bud­ding com­pa­nies in cities like Boston and London. The 13-​​week program—which included a $100,000 con­vert­ible debt note, as well as legal advice, men­tor­ship, and office space—culminated in demo day in April at the House of Blues on Lands­downe Street in Boston, an event attended by some 800 movers and shakers in the startup sector.

Investors from all over the world look to the Tech­stars pro­gram for new oppor­tu­ni­ties,” Anderson said. “People want to talk with us because they know we have a higher prob­a­bility of success.”

Anderson’s ascent to the top of the startup moun­tain began at North­eastern in 2010, when he con­nected with IDEA, the university’s student-​​run ven­ture accel­er­ator. Since then, IDEA has awarded Anderson $20,000 in gap funding; hooked him up with an accoun­tant, whom he still uses today; and paved the way for his meeting with Amino’s first angel investor.

Applying for gap funding from IDEA taught the fledg­ling entre­pre­neur a thing or two about what it takes to suc­ceed in the startup ecosystem. “I had to create a busi­ness plan and think about every little detail of my com­pany, even though it was only in the con­cept stage,” Anderson explained. “Having IDEA’s high level-​​guidance and sup­port was cru­cial for a new entre­pre­neur like myself.”

Over the past few years, he’s also branched out of Northeastern’s entre­pre­neurial ecosystem, taking advan­tage of oppor­tu­ni­ties to enhance his busi­ness acumen and expand his startup net­work. As a case in point, Anderson probed the minds of—and forged strong con­tacts with—two chief exec­u­tives of his former co-​​op employer WHERE, a Boston-​​based startup which was acquired by PayPal during his 2011 expe­ri­en­tial learning opportunity.

WHERE’s former chief oper­ating officer is now an angel investor in Amino, Anderson said, “but the list could go on and on in terms of busi­ness con­nec­tions I have made during my co-​​ops.”

Small wonder this ambi­tious entre­pre­neur has big career goals, though one could argue that con­necting like-​​minded people in cities as far flung as Boston and Hong Kong through a mobile app is quite an achieve­ment in and of itself. “I want to create some­thing from nothing that has a pos­i­tive effect on the world,” Anderson said.