After earning his degree, Kevin joined Google as an Associate Product Marketing Manager. It was at Google that he worked on several popular products such as Gmail, Spreadsheets, Docs, Calendar until he was moved to the Corporate Development team.
In 2009, he finally decided he wanted to take a major risk in life. You must think Kevin wanted to start a company, but you’re wrong. Instead, the young man joined a startup called Nextstop.com as a product manager. The startup was founded by ex-Googlers, and offers lucrative travel recommendations to its customers. It was at Nextstop he got the opportunity to write code and programs revolving around photos. You know where we’re going now, don’t you?
In his spare time, Kevin started working on a location-based photo sharing app called Burbn. After a successful meeting with Andreessen Horowitz in 2010, Kevin quit his job and went on to create Burbn on a full-time basis. Within two weeks of quitting the job, he received his first ever funding amount from Baseline Ventures and Andreesen Horowitz. Around the same time, he called fellow Stanford graduate Mike Krieger to run the start-up.
In spite of the press coverage, the app failed to garner public interest. While it was quite similar to Foursquare, it was also unique in its own way. After all, it was a location-based photo sharing app!
Things didn’t work out quite well as Systrom had expected. At one point, he stripped the app completely and customized it only for iPhone users. The app was decked with multiple filters that made pictures look artsy. After spending two months tweaking code and refining the platform, the duo came up with Instagram – derived from Instant and Telegram.
Within two hours of the time that Instagram went live, its servers went down again and again due to the high tragic. The two founders worked like crazy all night out of fear of instant failure. It is said that 25,000 people had signed up on the platform in the first 24 hours.
By 2012, Instagram was valued at $25 million, and went on to become an instant success. In September 2011, the founders launched a Version 2.0, which included live filters, borders, rotation, and an updated icon. With the app launching on the Android platform, the founders gained more than one million users in less than one day. The app went on to become one of the most downloaded apps on Google Play.