Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom Gets A Billionaire-Scale Vanity Fair Profile

A torrid tale of VCs, large amounts of zeros, the “stickiness” of Instagram users. And, of course, the bromance between Kevin Systrom and Mark Zuckerberg.

Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom Gets A Billionaire-Scale Vanity Fair Profile

Vanity Fair has shone an interesting light on the moments before and after Facebook offered to buy Instagram for a billion dollars in early 2012, on the eve of the social network’s IPO.


Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom had to consider several things: His company was closing a funding round that placed it at a seemingly astronomical valuation of $500 million–and this was happening just 18 months into Instagram’s life, when it had only 13 employees.

The billion-dollar moment came after Systrom left Mark Zuckerberg’s home. He’d been offered $300 million in cash and $700 million in (potentially very lucrative) Facebook stock. Systrom was waiting for his business partner Mike Krieger to arrive, and the numbers must’ve been whizzing through his head.

To be honest, though, the way Vanity Fair describes it, there must have always been numbers whizzing through Systrom’s head. Even while he was enrolled at Stanford, Instagram was slowly taking shape. He spent a winter studying in Florence and was inspired by a photography teacher to switch from the digital 4:3-shaped photos of a Nikon SLR to the square wet-film format of a Holga camera. This inspired Instagram’s filtering effects and its square photos. Just 18 months after launch, Instagram attracted 30 million iPhone users to its services, and the controversial creation of an Android app brought 1 million new folks in just a week. Then along came Zuck.

Interesting reading about the making of a very young millionaire.

[Image: By Flickr user Takeshi Life Goes On]

With Addy Dugdale

About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise.