Who are the two most spoken about names in the social media world right now? No, not Zuckerberg (though he is of course involved), but Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. They are the co founders behind the next step in the social media platform, Instagram. Instagram has become a hugely popular phone app. It allows users to take photos, transform them into beautiful images that look as though they were taken by a professional, and then share them on various social media networks, all for free.
Systrom and Krieger met while they were both students at Stanford University. Kevin Systrom graduated with a degree in Management Science & Engineering. He worked as an intern for Odeo (which would later become known as Twitter), and then at Google. Working for these two companies only fostered his passion for how we have become a society immersed in social media networks. So, with his other passion for photography, becoming CEO of Instagram was a natural fit. Meanwhile at Stanford, Mike Krieger studied Symbolic Systems, focusing on Human-Computer Interaction. Throughout school and after graduation Krieger also had the opportunity to work with some computer/ internet giants including Micosoft, Foxmarks (now Xmarks), and then Meebo.
Together they had a vision to bring back the novelty of the instantaneous picture experiences of using a Polaroid camera and then being able to share those images as a story instantly as well. Pictures taken with Instagram are normally formatted in a square shape, homage to the vintage feel of a Polaroid photograph. Also, there are different filter options available to use that will give the picture a different finish allowing the user to have a little artistic liberty with their camera phones.
In 2010, Systrom was able to raise $500,000 in investment funds to support his and Krieger’s project, at the time called Burbn. Shortly after they were able to launch the program in Apple’s App store. This was just the beginning of Instagram’s rapid climb to the top. About a year after its initial Apple launch, Instagram was updated to a 2.0 version. By February 2011, Instagram had raised $7million in investment funds, valuing the company at $125million. Only two months latter Instagram was released to Android users as well as raising $50million through venture capitalists, bumping the companies value up to $500million. Then a week later, in comes Mark Zuckerberg.
On April 9th, 2012, it was announced that Facebook had bought Instagram for $1billion in cash and company stocks. Zuckerberg aims to run Instagram as an independent company, allowing it to continue further growth, as opposed to simply being absorbed into Facebook. This is a huge acquisition for Facebook in that it cost a quarter of the cash Facebook had as of 2011, and was completed shortly before Facebook goes public.
For now the 14, yes there are only 14, employees of Instagram can sit back and celebrate the amazing success they have earned over the last 2 years.