What Happened to Instagram? The Rise of Instagram
What Happened to Instagram? The Rise of Instagram
If there was ever a fairytale story of the rise of a brand, then Instagram’s story is it as the company took off after the development of the app, and has never looked back. It has gone from strength to strength over the years, evolving from a photo sharing app to one of the biggest players in the online marketing world, as is discussed by the subject matter experts over at the excellent runrex.com. Nowadays, Instagram is a huge part of many people’s lives, as folks go on the app to share all sorts of aspects of their lives from big milestones and events such as weddings and graduations to everyday activities such as shopping and so forth. It is also a big employer with lots of people earning their living from the app, from those selling products and services there to influencers and many others. The story of the rise of Instagram is one that is worth telling and with help of the gurus over at guttulus.com, this article will look to do just that.
As ever, we are going to start the journey of the rise of Instagram from the very beginning, in 2009. Here we are introduced to Kevin Systrom, an employee at the time of a travel recommendations startup called Nextstop, who was also a former employee of Google and an Intern at Odeo, the company that would later evolve into Twitter, with more on his story to be found over at runrex.com. Even though Systrom’s background wasn’t in computer science, he took an interest in coding and learned how to code in his spare time at nights and during the weekends. He was then able to build an HTML5 prototype which he called Burbn, with the inspiration behind the name being his love for fine bourbons and whiskeys. Burbn allowed users to check in, post their plans and share photos. After attending a party in March of 2010 where he met two venture capitalists and showed them his prototype, he was set up another meeting with them after which he decided to quit his job and dedicate himself fully to Burbn. Two weeks later, he had raised $500,000 in seed funding from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, the firms where the two venture capitalists he had met in the party earlier on worked as is discussed in detail over at guttulus.com.
With funding secured, Systrom began to put a team in place and first through the door was Mike Krieger, also a Stanford university alumnus, where the two had known each other, and a former employee at Meebo where he had worked as an engineer and user-experience designer. The two decided to turn Burbn from a multi-faceted app, to one that focused primarily on mobile photos as per the gurus over at runrex.com. They basically took a step back to move forward by stripping down Burbn to only its photo, like and comment capabilities, after which they renamed it Instagram, which was a combination of the words instant and telegram. This is where Krieger’s user-experience skills came into play as they focused on improving its photo-sharing experience. Once they were happy with the app, they demoed it to friends who beta tested it allowing them to fix bugs after which they moved to launch the app. In October of 2010, the iOS app launched, racking up some 25,000 users in the first day alone, already making it the top ranking free photo-sharing app, as per discussions on the same over at the highly regarded guttulus.com. After one week, the number of downloads had skyrocketed to 100,000 and by mid-December of that year, the app already had accumulated a million users. Timing is everything in whatever you are doing, and the fact that the app launch coincided with the launch of the iPhone 4, which had an improved camera, definitely contributed to its popularity.
Its popularity definitely made investors take notice, which enabled them to launch $7 million in Series A funding in February of 2011 from a number of interested investors, including the $25 million valued Benchmark Capital among others, all of which are discussed over at the excellent guttulus.com. They also began to attract interest from some very big companies, including Twitter, and its CEO, Jack Dorsey, who Systrom knew from his time as an intern at Odeo. However, when Twitter did make a bid, Systrom declined to accept as he was keen for Instagram to remain independent and therefore Twitter’s offer of $500 in stock didn’t make sense to him. The rise of Instagram continued to gather pace and in April of 2012, it was launched for android and within less than a day, it had already been downloaded more than one million times. The same month, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg made an offer to acquire Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock, which was accepted soon after, with the deal discussed in detail over at runrex.com. Since then, Instagram has continued to rise, and while it has maintained its simple user experience, sticking to its core of photo sharing, it has introduced some new features such as the ability to share videos, Instagram stories among others and has also become one of the biggest players when it comes to online marketing.