instagram: The world’s largest photo-sharing platform
Instagram which was created by Kevin systrom and was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for a massive $1 Billion just after two years of it launch. Now istagram boasts of a whooping 400 million active users with a valuation of $37 Billion.
Today we are gonnabe talking about how instagram came to be where it is right now and the man behind it success.
Kevin systrom was born in Massachusetts to Diane and Douglas where his mother worked as a marketing executive at Zipcar and his father worked as the Vice President at TJX.
He said he moved to Management science because computer science classes were more academic than practical.
Kevin first got his first glimpse at what the start-up world was like when he was chosen to be among the twelve students to participate in the highly prestigious Mayfield Fellows Program at Stanford.
Through the fellowship program, Kevin managed to nail himself a 4-months internship at Odeo Inc. Odeo was a podcast company created by Evan Williams which allowed users record and share podcasts easily.
Kevin worked at the technical and business department in odeo, he was also the one who created the Odeo widget which launched at about the same time as Facebook.
Nextstop.com was a travel recommendation company that was founded by former Google employees. Kevin worked as their product manager where he did what he had always loved doing, writing codes and creating apps and games that involved photos. And that was where the bulb of instagram began to brighten.
While still working at Nextstop.com, Kevin realized he belonged to the entrepreneurs class and from then on he pursued his dreams of photography and social media.
During his spare time Kevin would work on his own project which was just like a mix of Foursquare and Flickr. The idea was an app that allow photo-sharing based on your location.
He called the app Burbn. When he was done with the prototype he presented it to potential investors Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz at a party.
Kevin quit his job at Nextstop.com in 2010 to focus on Burbn and see if it had the potential of becoming a company.
But you know what they say, “it all about that bold step” and in Kevin’s case that bold step which he took by quitting his job actually paid off.
It was then Mike Krieger who is known as the cofounder of instagram came in. Kevin knew he needed a cofounder and Mike was his friend and also a graduate at Stanford, so Kevin did the math and boom, Mike became a cofounder.
Burbn showed some very good potentials but they realized that their users where more active on the photo sharing aspect so they decided to focus everything on photo-sharing.
During that period Kevin went to the beach with his fiancee Nicole, where she told him that she would never use his app simply because her pictures won’t look as good as the ones her friend took.
That was when she told him to like add a filter that would enhance the pictures someone took to make it look better. And that was it, that was the wow! moment for Kevin.
Kevin went back to Mike and they both took the app apart and re-customized it to work on only iphones first. They did this because then iPhone 4 just launched and it had this insane camera that would be a perfect fit for their app.
They began intense work on the app for eight weeks, tweaking and testing and finally they renamed the app instagram which was coined from two words, “instant” and “telegram.” Instagram went live on the 6th Oct. 2010.
Kevin and Mike were so scared of losing the app that they worked all night trying to bring instagram back online. It was reported that instagram got over 25,000 sign ups just 24 hours after it launched.
Nine months later instagram got a record-breaking 7 million users. Instagram became the Buzz word in town with everyone talking about it even celebrities like Justin Bieber.
Instagram released their Version 2.0 in late 2012 and it came with some really cool improvements like new filters, one click rotation and instant tilt shift.
They launched their Android version in 2012 and it got a mind blowing one million downloads in just less than a day.
Mark Zuckerberg saw all these and realized that most people had began quitting Facebook to join instagram. And Facebook’s first key element during it rise to fame was photo sharing.
During that period Kevin got an invitation to a Tony conference (he now rolls with the big dogs) which was also attended by Jack Dorsey who is the CEO of Twitter and Ali Rowghani who was then the CFO of Twitter.
After having a couple of shots (drinks) Jack Dorsey and Ali proposed to Kevin asking him to sell instagram to them for $500 million. At the same time Kevin was also getting a huge amount of funding from Sequoia Capital.
But he decided to stick with Sequoia Capital and remain an independent company. Mark Zuckerberg also contacted Kevin asking him if he was willing to sell but Kevin declined.
But unlike Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg does not take no for an answer. He texted Kevin and asked they meet up to discuss business.
After a deep discussion between the two, Mark knew what he had to do to get instagram. Mark Zuckerberg offered Kevin double of what Jack Dorsey offered and and what Sequoia Capital had offered too. Kevin would be crazy not to accept that offer.
The deal was done and instagram along with it 13 employees was acquired by Facebook for an out of this world $1 Billion in cash and stock by 2012.
Although instagram still remained an independently managed company but under Facebook as it parents company.
Instagram in 2014 got over 300 million active users who accessed the site per month. And in 2015 it crossed 400 million users.
Instagram now hires 200 people who works from the Facebook’s main campus in Menlo Park, California. Instagram today is worth over $37 billion.
Instagram since it achieved success has made only one acquisition and that the acquisition of Lumia.io which they acquired in 2013 for an undisclosed amount.