April 13, 2021

The rise of Kevin Systrom, who founded Instagram 10 years ago and built it into one of the most popular apps in the world

  • Kevin Systrom launched Instagram in 2010. The Massachusetts-born Stanford University grad created the app because of his love of photography. 
  • The photo-sharing app has since become a global sensation, amassing over a billion users and making Systrom a billionaire.
  • Systrom led Instagram until 2018, when he suddenly departed Facebook, Instagram’s parent company. 
  • The New York Times reported last month that Systrom was recently approached to take over as CEO of TikTok.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Instagram grew out of Kevin Systrom’s love of photography.

The app, which was founded 10 years ago this month and has become one of the most popular social media apps in the world, was Systrom’s baby until, in 2018, he and cofounder Mike Krieger abruptly left the company.

The news came following months of turmoil and scandals for Facebook, Instagram’s parent company since 2012. (There had reportedly been tension between the founders and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as well.) 

But before Systrom was Instagram’s billionaire founder, he was a photographer, Google employee, and bourbon enthusiast. Here’s how Systrom got his start and built Instagram into what it is today.