Instagram’s Startup Story: How Instagram Started?

Instagram’s startup story is like a fairy tale. Instagram is the largest-growing photo and video-sharing social media platform. The company gaining astonishing success right from the beginning with over 1 million users in only two months after it was launched. Keep reading and know who created and how Instagram started?

History of Instagram

In 2009, Kevin Systrom, a 27-year-old Stanford University graduate, was working in Marketing at Nextstop, a travel-oriented startup. Systrom had also worked a year at Google as a corporate development associate and interned at Odeo (a company that would become Twitter). He always had the dream to do something on his own.

Kevin Systrom had no formal training in software engineering, at Nextstop, he started doing engineering at night and at weekends to help him learn how to code.

In early 2010, Systrom created a prototype app called Burbn, which was inspired by his taste for fine whiskeys and bourbons. It allows peoples to check-ins, post photos, and plan. At that time, location-based check-ins applications were very popular, the photo-sharing option unique Burbn from them.


First Funding

At a party, Kevin Systrom meets with some people who worked for venture capitalist firms and agrees with them to a meeting to discuss Burbn. After the first meeting, he quits his job at Nextstop to completely focus on Burbn, and two weeks later he had raised $ 500,000 from venture capitalist firms.

After this seed funding, Systrom decided to find a team to help him in his venture. 25-year-old Mike Krieger, a Stanford University graduate agreed to join. Mike Krieger had previously worked at the social media platform Meebo as an engineer and user-experience designer.

From Check-ins to a Photo-Sharing Application

After Krieger joined, they decided that the app was very similar to other already established mobile apps, so they pivoted to focus only on one thing: communication through images. They carefully studied leading photography applications at that time. They choose the Hipstamatic app because it was popular and had the best features and filters that one could apply to images. But it lacked social-media sharing features. Systrom and Krieger saw potential in creating an app that was the combo of Hipstamatic and a social media platform like Facebook.

They deprive all the features from the Burbn except uploading photos, commenting, and liking. It was renamed Instagram which referred to the fact that users were sending a type of instant telegram.

They began to focus on improving the image-sharing experience and other performances of the app. After eight weeks of polishing up, they gave it to the friends to beta-test and check their performance. After resolving some errors in the software, they brought Instagram to launch.

How Instagram Started? Video Animation

Instagram Launch on the App Store

The Instagram app was launched on Oct. 6, 2010, on the App Store and reached up to 25,000 downloads in one day. At the end of the first week, Instagram has been downloaded over 100,000 users, it soon became the number one photography app and in December the number of users increased and reached up to 1 million. The release timing of the app was also fantastic because the iPhone-4 which has improved camera and features had launched just before a few months earlier, in June 2010.

Also Read: How to save Instagram photos on your iPhone or Android phone

Series A Funding

After the rapid success of Instagram, more inventors become interested in the company. After four months of launch, in February 2011, Instagram raised $7 million Series A funding. At that time, some investors valued the company at around $25 million. In addition to investor’s firms, Instagram attracted the attention of other leading social media technology industry companies, including Twitter and Facebook.

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter expressed a strong interest in the company and pursued the idea of acquiring Instagram. Twitter reportedly made a formal offer of around $500 million in stock, but Kevin Systrom declined the offer. 

Also Read: Stages of Startups Fundings – Series A, B, and C Fundings & it’s Working

Facebook Acquisition

By March 2012, Instagram had over 27 million users. In April 2012, Instagram was launched for Android devices and was downloaded more than one million in a single day. Kevin Systrom and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had been in communication at the beginning of Instagram’s rapid rise in popularity.

In April 2012, Facebook made a formal offer of $1 Billion in cash and in stock for Instagram’s acquisition. Just prior to its initial public offering (IPO), Mark Zuckerberg moved forward and acquired Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock.

After the Facebook acquisition, Instagram has made small changes to the app, sticking to simple UI and its main focus on photo-sharing and video-sharing, the company added messaging services. Currently, the app’s most famous feature is “Instagram Stories” with the feature users post photos or videos to separate feed which will be visible to 24 hours. According to the company, in 2020, 500 million people use “Instagram Stories” every day.

According to Kevin Systrom, the app itself took only eight weeks to build but was a result of over a year of work behind it.

The user growth has continuously increased since it’s launched, in 2018 Instagram was the second most downloaded free app on Apps Store (No.1 was YouTube). In 2019, Instagram had over 1 Billion registered users.

This was the Instagram startups story and this is how Instagram started?

Instagram Success Story Youtube video: