Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom developed Instagram in San Francisco. Since its introduction in October 2010, this photo-sharing platform has been growing and it’s now phenomenal. Today, Instagram is among the fastest-growing social media platforms with a bunch of users all over the world. But how did it start?
At the time of developing Instagram, Systrom was working as a marketing executive for the US Subway directions app called Nextstop. However, he was doing engineering work at night trying to learn to code. He came up with a prototype app idea that he initially called Burbn. This prototype app enabled people to check-in their location using the mobile web.
Birth of Instagram
It was after meeting workers of venture capitalist companies at a party that he convinced them to meet him for a discussion on Burbn. He quit his marketing job after this meeting and raised $500,000 two weeks later from these companies.
It’s at this point that they formed a team with Mike Krieger. They realized that their app was similar to the majority of the already published apps. As such, thy decided to focus on communication via images only. This decision was followed by stripping the app out of most features except the commenting, liking, and uploading photos features. They also renamed the app and called it Instagram. That’s because the app allowed users to send what could be referred to as instant telegram.
The launch of Instagram was on 6th October 2010 and it had an almost instantaneous growth. The first Instagram photo to be uploaded was that of Kevin Systrom’s puppy called Dolly. This picture was taken in Todos Santos. Since that time, the social media platform has become the leading photography app from having a few users. Instagram had gathered 100,000 users within a week and this number increased to one million users within two months.
Kevin Systrom noted that Instagram was built in eight weeks only. However, the app was a result of more than a year of work. As of December 2010, Instagram had over one million users.
Within two years, the popularity of the app had grown significantly. Its developers added more features including new filters, hashtags, and one-click rotate, as well as, support for high-resolution photos. Instagram hit the 150 million photos mark in August 2011.
This was followed by expression of interest by leading social media companies, Facebook and Twitter. Krieger and Systrom seized this opportunity to hire employees but maintained a lean team.
Twitter Interest on Instagram
Systrom had worked as an intern at Odeo so Dorsey knew him. Dorsey was interested in Instagram and in March 2011, he offered stock worth $500 million for the company. However, Systrom declined and preferred to keep Instagram as an independent company.
Instagram had 27 million users by March 2012. In April, the Android version of Instagram was released. Over one million users downloaded it in less than a day.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, made an offer to buy Instagram for $1 billion in stock and cash in April 2012. He also agreed that Instagram would remain an independently managed company. Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in stock and cash shortly after.
The deal was approved by the Office of Fair Trading in Britain on 14th August 2012. Its investigation was closed by the Federal Trade Commission on 22nd August 2012. This allowed the two companies to proceed with the deal. The deal between Facebook and Instagram was closed officially on 6th September 2012.
After the Sale
Facebook introduced changes to the app such as photo tagging and the Photos of You. These show a collection of all users’ tagged photos. The new features introduced a business aspect because tagging increases revenue for companies.
Instagram also started allowing users to add links to photos and videos on July 2013. This has made sharing media content easier. Eventually, Instagram introduced ads. It also allowed users to chat privately through photos and videos.
Currently, this social media platform has over 1 billion active users every month. It’s also among the most popular social media platforms globally.