This year’s Crunchies saw Instagram founder Kevin Systrom take top honors for the “Founder of the Year” category, which is likely a safe pick considering what his company accomplished in 2013. He managed to grow his service’s user base and engagement to stunning levels, crossing 50 million users in May thanks to the addition of an Android client.
That growth likely led to the huge price tag paid for Instagram by Facebook when it came calling to purchase the mobile photo sharing service later on in the year. Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram when it purchased Systrom’s startup in April, which is a crazy amount of money, but likely worth it for Facebook which is seeking to build up its mobile reputation.
Systrom won out over runner-up Elon Musk, a very different type of entrepreneur and the founder of Tesla Motors, but his 2012 wasn’t just a series of unending highs. He took some heat for selling out from lovers of the service immediately following the Facebook sale, and came under fire when the network announced changes to its terms of service. Systrom made the right move, however, repealing the changes and addressing user concerns directly in a blog post with his name attached to the admission of Instagram’s wrong turn.
Another major accomplishment for Systrom and the company he created was perhaps best summed up by Crunchies host John Oliver on stage:
We should feel very grateful for having Instagram in our lives, because without Instagram we would not have ‘Rich Kids of Instagram’ in our lives, which is just a fantastic example of why the rest of the world still hates America.
Other nominees in this category included Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia from Airbnb; Kevin and Julia Hartz and Renaud Visage from Eventbrite; and Nir Zuk from Palo Alto Networks.