The History of Instagram

How was Instagram conceived?

Instagram was initially created as a part-time project by Kevin Systrom as he was learning to code – soon after, Mike Kreiger joined and both are credited as the creators of Instagram. Kevin Systrom is a graduate from Stanford University and did his internship at Odeo (the precursor to Twitter). Later, Kevin went on to work for Google and Nextstop, which was later acquired by Facebook. Mike Kreiger is also a graduate of Stanford University. While there, Mike fiddled with a photo-sharing project titled “Send Me Some Sunshine,” where those in sunnier parts of the world would send a photo of their weather to those who had less-than-fortunate weather.

Systrom had no previous training in coding, so he self-studied code at nights and weekends while doing his job at Nextstop. He used his skills to develop Burbn with Kreiger, a prototype and precursor to Instagram. Burbn was a multi-faceted app that allows users to post their pictures and “check-in” at a location. Realizing this, they both recalibrated their efforts. They found that there was an opening for an application that focused more on images, rather than text (unlike Facebook and Twitter. After eight months of struggle and development, they came up with Instagram. Instagram was launched on October 6th, 2010, the name derived from the terms “instant” and “telegram” as it was a quick way to share real-life photos that were primarily taken from mobile devices.

Instagram’s Instant Success

Instagram’s launch started with the first photo uploaded, of Dolly, Kevin Systrom’s dog.

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A post shared by Kevin Systrom (@kevin) on

The Instagram launch was a huge success. 25,000 users showed up in a single day. In just three months, Instagram grew to 1 million users. On September 26th, 2011, Instagram made it to 10 million users. In June of 2018, Instagram reached 1 billion active users worldwide.

Momentum Building

Investors became quickly interested in Instagram as an investment opportunity, and initial funding of $7 million was quickly raised at the beginning of 2011, part of which was from Benchmark Capital, which is famous for its investments in a multitude of successful startups beginning in the 1990s.

Twitter’s Interest

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, knew Kevin Systrom from the time he did his internship at Odeo, and was an early financial backer and supporter of Instagram. The relationship between the two companies is quite apparent, especially with features such as hashtags playing a central role in both. In March of 2012, Twitter showed their interest in the company and made a reported offer of $525 million. The founders refused the offer and stated their intention to keep Instagram as an independent company.

Facebook’s Interest

In April of 2012, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook topped Twitter’s offer at $1 billion (later adjusted to a final valuation of $735 million), in cash and stock, to purchase Instagram. The offer was accepted and Facebook acquired Instagram. Facebook had pledged to – and has seemingly delivered – on keeping Instagram close to the original user experience. That has been rewarded with continued growth on the platform.

What makes Instagram so popular?

  • The only popular social media network that is primarily focused on photos versus text.
  • A simple, easy-to-use interface that is not overly cumbersome.
  • At the time of release, “filters” for photos that no other network offered.
  • As advertisements have been incorporated, they have avoided being distracting.
  • Instagram’s expansion with “business” profiles and e-commerce features has given small businesses good reason to incorporate the network into their usual lineup.

Can Naumann Consulting help with Instagram?

We sure can! Whether it’s simply pointing you in the right direction with what sort of photos to post, hashtags to use, etc, or as far as helping design attractive images to bring attention to your product or service, we are standing by to help grow your Instagram following. Reach out to us to get the ball rolling. 

Contact us

  (323) NAUMANN

  Brighton, Colorado

If I had permitted my failures, or what seemed to me at the time a lack of success, to discourage me I cannot see any way in which I would ever have made progress.