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Instagram: The untold origin story

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How do you make a billion dollars in two years? Here’s a narrative look through the brief, hectic, (and lucky), 14 months of Kevin Systrom’s life growing Instagram.

News of Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram boomeranged around the Web yesterday with near-light-speed velocity. The interest made complete sense. Instagram, a start-up which had existed for a mere 551 days, which had never made a cent in revenue, and which employed just a dozen people, had pulled off one of the most impressive exits in recent memory. And it all seemed to happen overnight.

So how did Kevin Systrom, the 28-year-old company’s founder, pull it off?

The common, almost Tweet-sized narrative, is that Kevin Systrom, a freshly pedigreed member of Silicon Valley’s nouveau elite—he graduated from Stanford University, interned at Twitter, and worked at Google—founded Instagram in March 2010. But this is only a sliver of the story.

Beginning in January 2009, Systrom spent his days toiling as a product manager for Nextstop.com, a travel recommendation start-up which Facebook would acquire in September of 2010.

…to read this article in full, visit leading US small business resource, Inc.


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