Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom Story and how Instagram started 2020

Kevin Systrom Instagram founder story
Kevin Systrom Instagram founder story

Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom Story

Kevin Systrom is one of the most well known American computer programmer and entrepreneur. He co‑established Instagram, most world’s largest photo-sharing website, along with Mike Krieger. Kevin Systrom got selected in the list of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 2016. While he was working as the CEO of Instagram, Instagram was a very rapidly growing app, with approximately 800 million to 1 Billion approximately monthly users as of September 2019. in January, there are 120 million Instagram users in America. On September 24, 2018, he left his job as CEO of Instagram.

Kevin Systrom Instagram founder story

Early life and education     

Kevin Systrom was born in 1983 in Holliston, Massachusetts. His father’s name is Diane (Pels), who is a marketing executive at Zipcar, who also served at Monster and Swapit during the first dotcom bubble, and Douglas Systrom, Vice President in Human Resources at TJX Companies.

Kevin Systrom did his schooling from Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where he was introduced to Computer Programming.

He worked at Boston Beat, a vinyl record music store in Boston, while he was in high school.

Kevin Systrom attended Stanford University and graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in management science and engineering. At Stanford, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity.

He was honored with the first startup world when he was selected as one of twelve students to participate in the Mayfield Fellows Program at Stanford University. The fellowship did his internship at Odeo, the company gave rise to Twitter.


After completing the graduation from Stanford, Kevin started his first job in Google working on Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Spreadsheets, and other products. He served two years working at Google as a product marketer. Systrom quit the job of Google out of frustration of not being moved into the Associate Product Manager program.


Kevin left his job from Google and after that, he joined Nextstop, a startup founded by ex-Googlers that has been acquired by Facebook in 2010, Kevin Systrom thought of combining location check-in and popular social games. He created the prototype of what later became Burbn and pitched it to Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz at a party. He planned an idea while on a vacation in Mexico when his girlfriend was unwilling to post her photos because they did not look good enough when taken by the iPhone 4 camera.

After attending the first meeting, he planned to leave his job. He thought that Burbn could become a company. Within 2 weeks of leaving his job, he achieved an amount of US$500,000  funding round from both Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. In San Francisco, Kevin Systrom together with Mike Krieger Created Burbn, which is an HTML 5 check-in service, into a product that enabled users to serve in many things. It consists of things such as find out locations, make plans, earn points for hanging out with friends, post pictures, and much more. However, Krieger and Systrom introduced that Burbn consists of too many features and the users did not want to acquire any complicated product. They decided to aim at one specific feature, photo-sharing application. The development of Burbn was the main creation behind the built of Instagram. A month after the establishment of Instagram, it had grown to 1 million users. After a year later, Instagram users became more than 10 million users.


In 2010, Kevin Systrom co‑established the photo-sharing application and, later, video-sharing social networking service Instagram together with Mike Krieger in San Francisco, California.

In April 2012, Instagram, along with 13 employees, was sold to Facebook for US$1 billion in cash and stock. According to multiple reports, the deal netted Kevin Systrom US$400 million based on his ownership stake in the business. One of the key contributions to the acquisition was that Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook was “committed to building and growing Instagram independently”, allowing Systrom to continue to lead Instagram. Systrom with Bloomberg stated in an interview that the pros of becoming a part of Facebook were that “we got to pair up with a juggernaut of a company that understands how to grow, understands how to build a business, has one of the best, if not the best, management team in tech and we got to use them as our resource”.

In an interview with Forbes, he concluded that “Instagram is a new form of communication that’s an ideal fit with the always-with-you iPhone in today’s social media world. Instagram is one of the most popular social networks built around photos, where people can quickly comment on or ‘like’ photos and share them on other social media.” Kevin introduced Instagram as one of the most popular media companies, which explains the roll-out of video advertisements by big companies such as Disney, Activision, Lancome, Banana Republic and CW in late 2014.

Under Kevin Systrom’s leadership, Instagram improved the other key features like the Explore tab, filters, and video. Over time, Instagram rolled out features allowing users to upload and filter photographs and short videos, follow other users’ feeds, geotag images, name location, and comment on other users’ photographs and short videos. Instagram also enabled the development of web profiles in 2012, connecting accounts to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr in 2013, and Explore tab in mid-2012, and Video in June 2013. Instagram offered 19 photographic filters; Normal, 1977, Amaro, Brannan, Earlybird, Hefe, Hudson, Inkwell, Kelvin, Lo-fi, Mayfair, Nashville, Rise, Sierra, Sutro, Toaster, Valencia, Willow, X-Pro II.

Systrom appointed a former Yahoo Vice-President James Everingham. And he hired Kevin Weil, who formerly headed product development at Twitter, as high-ranking executives at Instagram.

As of October 2015, more than 40 billion pictures had been shared on Instagram.

As of June 2016, Instagram had hit over 500 million active users.

Also in 2016, CNN quoted a study according to which Snapchat was the most important social network among teenagers aged 14 to 19, the first time in two years that Instagram did not feature at the top.

Instagram as of early 2017 employed around 450 people. The app was used by 600 million people per month and 300 million per day. Its competitors Snapchat and Twitter employed more people for a smaller user base, with Twitter having 3,500 employees for 317 million monthly users, and Snapchat employing 1,500 people for half of Instagram’s daily user base.

In May 2017, Systrom planned to better integrate the use of videos into Instagram.  He also stated that in a few years, the company might be getting involved in Virtual Reality products.

According to Quartz and the New York Times, Systrom together with Krieger executed a system to overcome bottlenecks and slow decision-making in the company by organizing meetings in which only decisions are taken. This approach was announced by Systrom’s interest in academic business theories, in particular Clayton M. Christensen’s concept of The Innovator’s Dilemma.

It was declared that Systrom left Instagram on September 24, 2018.

About Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular free, online photo-sharing application and social media network platform that has been acquired by Facebook in the year 2012.

Instagram enables users to edit and upload photos and short videos through a mobile android app. Users can also add a caption to each of their posts and use hashtags and location-based geotags in order to index these posts and make them searchable by other users within the app. Each post being uploaded by a user appears on the page of followers’ Instagram feedback and the public can also visit when tagged using hashtags or geotags. Users can upload posts making their profile private or public as per the choice so that only their followers can view their posts.

Same as other social networking platforms Instagram users can like, comment on and bookmark others’ posts, as well as people can send private messages to their friends with the help of Instagram Direct feature. Photos can be shared on one or several other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr with a single click.

Instagram is not only an application for the use of individuals but also it can be used for the promotion work of business. The application serves companies with an opportunity to start a free business account in order to promote their work. Companies having business accounts have the authority to free engagement and impression metrics. According to the application, there are more than 1 million advertisers all over the world using Instagram to share their stories and drive business results.

Personal life

According to the Guardian, Systrom was very fond of “fine food, golf, skiing and enjoys his holidays at California’s Lake Tahoe”.

Kevin Systrom met with Pope Francis, where they had a discussion related to the power of images in uniting people worldwide at the Vatican in February 2016.

Major Works

Kevin is the co-founder and the CEO of the most well-known application called ‘Instagram’, and has been the main people behind designing the application. He made his contributions to the day-to-day development and growth of the photo-sharing platform. According to recent surveys and estimates, the application has more than 300 million users. The value of ‘Instagram’ application is approximately $33 billion as of 2014. In January 2020, Instagram estimated value is 102 Billion that is 5th times more from Snapchat and 6th times from Twitter.

Awards & Achievements

  • In 2012, Kevin was honored with the ‘Founder of the Year’ at the ‘6th Annual Crunchies Awards’.
  • He was also honored with the ‘CFDA Social Media Award’ in 2015.

Personal Life & Legacy

This pioneering programmer got married to Nicole Schuetz, who is the founder of the ‘Sutro Energy Group’.

Net Worth

This entrepreneur has an estimated net worth of approximately an amount of $800 million.

Important Questions to discuss

Where did Kevin’s system grow up?

Kevin Systrom’s upbringing has been in a small town in Massachusetts and first dabbled in computer programming while in middle school. He went to Stanford University, where he studied management science and engineering.

Does Mark Zuckerberg own Instagram?

Zuckerberg had an eye to acquiring Instagram in 2012 for nearly $1 billion when it had been used by only 30 million users. The photo-and-video sharing app now has more than 1 billion monthly active users, including huge numbers of social media celebrities and influencers.

Why is Instagram owned by Facebook?

Because of heavy traffic on Instagram, Facebook scared and people starting using of Instagram instead of Facebook. And he didn’t want a competitor to snap it first. The co-founder of Instagram is Kevin Systrom.  Facebook purchased the photo-sharing option in $1 billion in cash and stock deal on 9 April 2012. He paid an amount of approximately $1 billion for a company being served by 13 employees at the time. Mark Zuckerberg said ”Committed to building and growing Instagram independently”.

What is the point of getting an Instagram?

In short, the point of Instagram is to build up connections with more people who can recognize the world in interesting ways. You can follow people mainly considering the kinds of images b uploaded that motivate them. And if the images or videos uploaded by you are liked by the people, they’ll follow you back. The simple process of liking and commenting provides great fun and feedback.

how much is Instagram worth?

Instagram has an estimated valued of $102Billion is worth 5 times as much as Snapchat and 6 Times as much as Twitter.

What servers does Instagram use?

Instagram mainly used two backend database systems: Cassandra and PostgreSQL. Both PostgreSQL and Cassandra have mature replication frameworks that work well as a globally consistent data store. Global data nearly maps to data stored in these servers.


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