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< All founders' list

Kevin Systrom

Side Project
Does Code
Year of founding:
Current age:
Net worth:

1. Background

Education: Bachelor of Science, Management Science & Engineering

College: Stanford University

Previous Career: Kevin Systrom worked in marketing roles at Google, and also at emerging start-ups Odeo(which later became Twitter) and Nexstop(later acquired by Facebook).

2. Origin Story

The Spark

Kevin Systrom's story is the stuff of Silicon Valley dreams. At age 27, Systrom taught himself to code at nights & on weekends, while working in marketing at Nexstop. As a side-project, Systrom built the prototype of Burbn - a location-based app that allowed users to check in, post plans and share photos. A crucial turning point came when at a party, Systrom met a couple of venture capitalists and showed them the prototype, winning a coffee meet to discuss more. After the first meeting, Kevin Systrom quit his job to work full-time on Burbn and two weeks later, he convinced the same VCs (from Baseline Ventures & Andreesen Horowitz) to invest $500K.

The Pivot

After teaming up with Mike Krieger (fellow Stanford grad & web designer), Kevin Systrom realised the presence of similar apps in a crowded market, and hence decided to pivot to only photo-sharing. They decided to go the minimal route and stripped Burbn down to its bare features - sharing photos, liking & commenting - and thus, Instagram was born.

The Build

The iOS app was built in 8 weeks, and on Oct. 6, 2010, the day of the App Store launch, Instagram became the Top Free Photo-sharing app, gaining 25,000 users in single a day. Now, in the modern day age of fast internet, Instagram has grown from strength to strength.

3. Other interesting points

- At the age of 27, Kevin Systrom taught himself to code at night & on weekends, while working full-time as a marketing manager.

- Kevin Systrom had a deep desire to work at Google - doing any job, at any wage, because he believed he could learn from the best people there.

4. Quote

"If you've got an idea, start today. There's no better time than now to get going. That doesn't mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100% from day one, but there's always small progress that can be made to start the movement." - Kevin Systrom

5. Company growth & sources (links)

Story of the Founders

How did they grow the company?