Kevin Systrom (born December 30, 1983) is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur. He co-founded Instagram, the world's largest photo sharing website, along with Mike Krieger.[2]

Kevin Systrom
Systrom in 2018
Born (1983-12-30) December 30, 1983 (age 40)
Alma materStanford University
Known forCo-founder and former CEO, Instagram
Board member ofWalmart (2014–2018)[1]
Nicole Schuetz
(m. 2016)

Systrom was included on the list of America's Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 2016.[3] Under Systrom as CEO, Instagram became a fast growing app, with 800 million monthly users as of September 2017.[4] He resigned as the CEO of Instagram on September 24, 2018.[5]

Meta Platforms (then Facebook, Inc.) bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, a large sum at that time for a company that had 13 employees. Instagram today has over one billion users and contributes over $20 billion to Meta Platforms's annual revenue.

Early life and education


Systrom was born on December 30, 1983, in Holliston, Massachusetts.[6] He is the son of Diane, a marketing executive at Zipcar, who also worked at Monster and Swapit during the first dotcom bubble,[7] and Douglas Systrom, Vice President of Human Resources at TJX Companies.[8][9]

Systrom attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where he was introduced to computer programming. His interest grew from playing Doom 2 and creating his own levels as a child.[10]

He worked at Boston Beat, a vinyl record music store in Boston, while he was in high school.[11]

Systrom attended Stanford University and graduated in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in management science and engineering.[12][7] At Stanford, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He turned down a recruitment offer from Mark Zuckerberg and instead spent the winter term of his third year in Florence, where he studied photography.[13][14]

He got his first taste of the startup world when he was chosen as one of twelve students to participate in the Mayfield Fellows Program at Stanford University.[15] The fellowship led to his internship at Odeo, the company that eventually became Twitter.[citation needed]





After graduating Stanford, he joined Google working on Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Spreadsheets and other products.[11] He spent two years at Google as a product marketer; Systrom left Google out of frustration of not being moved into the Associate Product Manager program.[16]

He made the prototype of what later became Burbn and pitched it to Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz at a party. He came up with the idea while on a vacation in Mexico when his girlfriend was unwilling to post her photos because they did not look good enough when taken by the iPhone 4 camera.[7][14] The solution to the problem was to use filters, effectively hiding the qualitative inferiority of the photographs.[14] Subsequently, Systrom developed the X-Pro II filter that is still in use on Instagram today.[14]

After the first meeting, he decided to quit his job in order to explore whether or not Burbn could become a company. Within 2 weeks of quitting his job, he received US$500,000 seed funding round from both Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. While in San Francisco, Systrom and Mike Krieger built Burbn, an HTML 5 check-in service, into a product that allowed users to do many things: check into locations, make plans (future check-ins), earn points for hanging out with friends, post pictures, and much more. However, recalling their studies in Mayfield Fellows Program, Krieger and Systrom identified that Burbn contained too many features and the users did not want a complicated product. They decided to focus on one specific feature, photo-sharing. The development of Burbn led to creation of Instagram. A month after launching, Instagram had grown to 1 million users. A year later, Instagram hit more than 10 million users.[17]



In 2010, Systrom co‑founded the photo-sharing and, later, video-sharing social networking service Instagram with Mike Krieger[18] in San Francisco, California.

In April 2012, Instagram, along with 13 employees, was sold to Facebook for US$1 billion in cash and stock.[19] According to multiple reports, the deal netted Systrom US$400 million based on his ownership stake in the business.[20] One of the key contributions to the acquisition was that Mark Zuckerberg stated Facebook was "committed to building and growing Instagram independently", allowing Systrom to continue to lead Instagram.[21] Systrom stated in an interview with Bloomberg that the pros of becoming a part of Facebook were that "we got to pair up with a juggernaut of a company that understands how to grow, understands how to build a business, has one of the best, if not the best, management team in tech and we got to use them as our resource".[22]

In an interview with Forbes, he stated that "Instagram is a new form of communication that's an ideal fit with the always-with-you iPhone in today's social media world. Instagram's a social network built around photos, where people can quickly comment on or 'like' photos and share them on Twitter or Facebook."[23] Systrom identified Instagram as a media company, which explains the roll-out of video advertisement by big companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Activision, Lancôme, Banana Republic and CW in late 2014.[24]

On September 24, 2018, it was announced that Systrom resigned from Instagram and would be leaving in few weeks.[25][26]



On January 31, 2023, Krieger and Systrom launched Artifact, an AI-powered news app, on the App Store and Google Play.[27][28] Artifact is in the process of shutting down as of January 12, 2024.

Views on copying ideas in the industry


Instagram has been accused on multiple occasions for copying various new functions from its closest competitor Snapchat.[29] Regarding the issue, Systrom argued that all new services launched by tech companies nowadays are "remixes" of existing products, and that "all of these ideas are original when you remix them and bring your own flavour".[30] Systrom also argued that 'you can trace the roots of every feature anyone has in their app, somewhere in the history of technology' and that this was simply 'just the way Silicon Valley works.'[31]

Forbes list


In 2014, Systrom was listed in the Forbes 30 "Under 30" list under the "Social/Mobile category."[32]

In 2016, the magazine ranked Systrom as a billionaire with an estimated net worth of US$1.1 billion.[33] The fortune came about as a result of Facebook stocks rising more than 500%.[33]

Personal life


In February 2016, Systrom met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, where they discussed the power of images in uniting people "across borders, cultures and generations".[34]

On October 31, 2016, Systrom married Nicole Systrom (née Schuetz), founder and CEO of clean-energy investment firm Sutro Energy Group, in Napa, California. The two met at Stanford and were engaged in 2014.[35]


  1. ^ "Walmart Releases 2018 Annual Report, Proxy Statement, Global Responsibility Report and Global Ethics and Compliance Program Update". Walmart. April 20, 2018. Archived from the original on June 27, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  2. ^ " Traffic, Demographics and Competitors – Alexa". Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "Kevin Systrom". Forbes. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  4. ^ "Kevin Systrom". Forbes. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Newton, Casey (October 15, 2018). "Ledger bucholz on quitting Instagram: 'No one ever leaves a job because everything's awesome'". The Verge. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  6. ^ "The CNBC Next List: Kevin Systrom". CNBC. October 6, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Kiss, Jemima (October 2, 2015). "Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom: 'We're working on time travel'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  8. ^ Holliston native strikes it rich with smartphone app Instagram – Framingham, MA. The MetroWest Daily News (April 12, 2012). Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  9. ^ "Elizabeth V. Pels, 85". Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Rogers, Kate (July 31, 2015). "Searching for Zuckerbergs: Inside a start-up summer camp". CNBC. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "How Kevin Systrom of Instagram got his start". Fortune. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  12. ^ "Executive Profile". Bloomberg Businessweek. April 5, 2012.[dead link]
  13. ^ Dodds, Laurence (April 18, 2020). "The inside story of how Facebook went from idealism to scandal". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d "Instagram's Kevin Systrom: 'I'm dangerous enough to code and sociable enough to sell our company'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  15. ^ "Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger: From Stanford to Startup [Entire Talk] | Stanford eCorner". Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  16. ^ Eagle, Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan (September 23, 2014). "How Google Works: hacked". Books Content Development. Retrieved September 28, 2018 – via Google Books.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "Instagram Press". Instagram. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  18. ^ Hempell, Jessi. "Instagram's Founders Have Always Had Impeccable Timing". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  19. ^ Primack, Dan (April 9, 2012). "Breaking: Facebook buying Instagram for $1 billion". Fortune. Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  20. ^ Isaac, Marc (April 9, 2012). "Facebook Buys Instagram". Wired. Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  21. ^ Segall, Laurie. "Kevin Systrom Build Instagram into a Media Company". CNN. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  22. ^ "Studio 1.0: Kevin Systrom Opens Up About Instagram's Life at Facebook". Bloomberg News. October 24, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  23. ^ Geron, Tomio (December 19, 2011). "Kevin Systrom Builds Instagram into a Media Company Press". Forbes. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  24. ^ "Instagram's Video Ads Are Finally Live, and Here Are 4 From Major Brands". Adweek. October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  25. ^ Isaac, Mike (September 24, 2018). "Instagram's Co-Founders to Step Down From Company". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  26. ^ Lyons, Kate (September 25, 2018). "Instagram co-founders resign to explore 'creativity again'". The Guardian. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  27. ^ Peters, Jay (February 22, 2023). "Artifact, the AI-powered news app from Instagram's co-founders, is now open to all". The Verge. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  28. ^ "Instagram Co-Founders Introduce Artifact, an AI-Powered News App". CNET. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  29. ^ "Instagram Copies Snapchat Once Again With Face Filters". Fortune. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  30. ^ Burgess, Matt. "Where Instagram goes next: Kevin Systrom on copying rivals, VR and cutting off dead weight". Wired. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  31. ^ "Did Instagram copy Snapchat? Not exactly, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says". Recode. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  32. ^ "30 Under 30 Who are Changing the World". Forbes. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  33. ^ a b Vinton, Kate. "Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom Joins Billionaire Ranks As Facebook Stock Soars". Forbes. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  34. ^ "Instagram's CEO Meets Pope Francis to Discuss Power of Images". Time. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  35. ^ "Instagram Cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom and Nicole Schuetz's Masquerade Ball Wedding in Napa". Vogue. January 21, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2020.