So far in it’s brief existence, Instagram has had a wild ride. It started out as a location app called Burbn, then pivoted before it even launched to just photos. Within a week, the photo sharing app was up to 100,000 users, and then 1 million. Today, the company announced that it just raised $7 million from Benchmark and others.
But what was it like that first day Instagram hit the app store? In this episode of Founder Stories (formerly Startup Sherpa), founder and CEO Kevin Systrom describes what it felt like to host Chris Dixon. People started downloading the app immediately from the other side of the world, then the server crumbled. “I have never felt so sick ever,” says Systrom in the video clip above. He didn’t get much sleep that day, but everything turned out all right.
In Part I of the full interview (below), Systrom delves into other topics as well, such as his decision to abandon his initial idea (Burbn) and go with a social photo-sharing app instead, and how he created his first photo app in college called Photo Box. He also talks about how the serendipity of Silicon Valley contributed to the formation Instagram, remembering a party that Dixon once threw in San Francisco where Systrom ended up meeting his key angel investors. In Part II, he talks about the competition, why entrepreneurs leave Google, and where Instagram is headed.