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.
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 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.