His Story

Kevin Systrom – From small town boy to social media billionaire


Kevin Systrom is the Founder and CEO of the fastest growing social media platform-Instagram. It is an online mobile photo and video sharing application.

Instagram is also known to be one of the very few products which accounts for some of the biggest names from the celebrity world as their users. It was acquired by Facebook for a $1 Billion in 2012, within just two years since its launch. Presently, Instagram has over 400 Million active users.

Being more of a practical guy, he changed his subjects to management science and engineering programming when he went to Stanford. It was during his junior years, when photography grabbed his attention.

Kevin interned at ODEO. INC, Twitter and worked in the companies like Google and Microsoft. While working with Google he always tried to get back in social space. He left Google and joined Next Stop, where he practiced programming at spare times. His restlessness showed him the way to the world of social media and photography.

This fellowship eventually led to a 4-month internship at Odeo Inc in June 2005. Odeo was a podcast start-up created by Evan Williams. It gave users an easy way to record and share podcasts. Kevin used to work there as a Technical and Business intern and also made the Odeon Widget as well.

Anyway a year later, after completing his degree in 2006, Kevin joined Google and went on to work for them for around 3 years. He began as an Associate Product Marketing Manager and worked on products like Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Spread sheets, etc. and after two years he moved ahead to the Corporate Development team.

While at Nextstop.com, it had become very clear to him that entrepreneurship was where he was meant to be. He just had to pursue his passion for photography and social sharing full-time. Having said that, he began working on the idea!

In his spare time, he started working on an idea which was a mix of Foursquare and Flickr. It was an app that allowed location-based photo sharing. He called it Burbn. Once the prototype was ready; he presented the same to Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz at a party in January 2010. After this ‘hopefully’ successful first meeting, Kevin took the leap and quit his job at Nextstop.com. He primarily took this bold move to understand the possibilities of whether or not Burbn had the potential to become a company.

Once that was done, he knew that just like all the successful start-ups, he too needed co-founders as well. And he found that in his friend Mike Krieger (fellow Junior Stanford graduate. When Mike saw the prototype, he loved it and decided to leave the start-up idea that he was working on and joined him in March 2010.

10 Success lessons from Kevin Systrom:-

  • Be passionate
  • Have a deep focus
  • Build up your skills
  • Build users first, worry about revenue later.
  • Success leaves tracks
  • Grow your network
  • Know what works
  • Product name should reflect its purpose



You Might Also Like