Instagram has quickly rose to fame as a social network. It attracts all different types of users, but it especially is popular with teenagers and those below 40 years old. As young people migrate away from Facebook, they are gathering mostly on Instagram and more picture-based platforms. In order to fully understand the importance of this application, it would be useful to know its history and how it developed.
In San Francisco in 2010, Kevin Systrom (programmer) and Mike Krieger (software engineer) shifted their program Burbn to focus on mobile photography. Krieger thought their program had became akin to Foursquare and wanted to shy away from this similarity (Kevin Systrom). They then came up with an idea to name an application Instagram, which is a blend of the words “instant camera” and “telegram” (The New York Times).
After getting $500,000 in funding from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz in March of 2010 (Siegler, MG), they hired Josh Riedal as the Community Manager, Shane Sweeney as an engineer, and Jessica Zollman as a Community Evangelist (Shontell, Alyson). In the process of development, the first Instagram photograph was uploaded by Systrom on July 16th, 2010. The picture features a dog and Systrom’s girlfriend’s foot while in Mexico. As the first photograph uploaded, it showcased the X-PRO2 filter developed by the team (Trianni, Francesca).
Instagram’s official release on the App Store as an iOS application was on October 6, 2010. The release proved to be successful, as by February 2011, the company had gathered 7 million dollars in funding from several investors (“Instagram Launches With The Hope Of Igniting Communication Through Images”). The investors valued Instagram at the time to be worth about 20 million dollars (Markowitz, Eric).
2012 was another pivotal year for the company. Instagram was released on Android phones on April 3. In less than a day, the application was downloaded over million times through Android phones (Blagdon, Jeff). In May, the company raised $50 million from venture capitalists, with it being valued at $500 million (Tsotsis, Alexia). Facebook, seeing the application as a threat and viable competitor, bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock. However, even though Facebook formally bought the company, they allowed it to run independently (CNNMoney).
An engineer and software developer from San Francisco started the application in 2010, and they have not looked back. Instagram began as a Foursquare copy, but soon budded into a photo-sharing powerhouse. By focusing on the sharing of photographs rather than chat and other features, Instagram become more favored by the public and investors. The value of the company has continued to increase exponentially. Now a company under Facebook’s wing, it has acquired enormous funding and backing. The future of Instagram looks bright, as many Facebook followers have now shifted there in light of Facebook’s controversial trials and aging interface.
Kevin Systrom. “What is the genesis of Instagram?” Quora.com. https://www.quora.com/Instagram-company/What-is-the-genesis-of-Instagram
SOMINI SENGUPTA, NICOLE PERLROTH and JENNA WORTHAM. “Instagram Founders Were Helped by Bay Area Connections.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Apr. 2012, www.nytimes.com/2012/04/14/technology/instagram-founders-were-helped-by-bay-area-connections.html.
Shontell, Alyson. “Meet The 13 Lucky Employees And 9 Investors Behind $1 Billion Instagram.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 9 Apr. 2012, www.businessinsider.com/instagram-employees-and-investors-2012-4.
Siegler, MG. “Burbn’s Funding Goes Down Smooth. Baseline, Andreessen Back Stealthy Location Startup.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 5 Mar. 2010, techcrunch.com/2010/03/05/burbn-funding/.
Trianni, Francesca. “CEO of Instagram Describes the App’s First Photo Ever.” Time, Time, 6 Oct. 2015, time.com/4061227/instagram-first-photo/.
Siegler, MG. “Instagram Launches With The Hope Of Igniting Communication Through Images.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 6 Oct. 2010, techcrunch.com/2010/10/06/instagram-launch/.
Markowitz, Eric. “How Instagram Grew From Foursquare Knock-Off to $1 Billion Empire.” Inc.com, Inc., 10 Apr. 2012, www.inc.com/eric-markowitz/life-and-times-of-instagram-the-complete-original-story.html.
Blagdon, Jeff. “Instagram for Android Breaks 1 Million Downloads in Less than a Day.” The Verge, The Verge, 4 Apr. 2012, www.theverge.com/2012/4/4/2924600/instagram-android-1-million-downloads.
Tsotsis, Alexia. “Right Before Acquisition, Instagram Closed $50M At A $500M Valuation From Sequoia, Thrive, Greylock And Benchmark.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 9 Apr. 2012, techcrunch.com/2012/04/09/right-before-acquisition-instagram-closed-50m-at-a-500m-valuation-from-sequoia-thrive-greylock-and-benchmark/.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Facebook has agreed to buy photo sharing network Instagram for $1 billion in a combination of cash, and Stock. “Facebook Acquires Instagram for $1 Billion.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, money.cnn.com/2012/04/09/technology/facebook_acquires_instagram/.