Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the founders of the famous photo sharing app, Instagram have decided to exit the company after eight years of helming it successfully adding to the woes of its parent company Facebook.
“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” Mr. Systrom said. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”
Facebook has been stuck in the whirlwind of controversies including data breach and not preventing foreign interference across its network of more than two billion people. Even though Mr. Systrom and Mr. Krieger have not given a reason for their departure, rumors are ablaze that they are leaving because of the exertion of more control over Instagram by Facebook leadership.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, praised the Instagram founders in a statement and said that he wished them “all the best and I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next.”
Instagram was founded in 2010, first as a location check-in app called Burbn. Mr. Krieger, an enthusiastic user of Burbn, met Mr. Systrom at a Stanford University fellowship program and they decided to work together. Eventually, Burbn was retooled and renamed Instagram. The duo worked out of a small office in the South Park neighborhood of San Francisco. Even as Instagram was an instant success in the Silicon Valley, their initial days were mostly used for keeping its app online as the servers struggled with the new-sign ups every day.
Facebook, which bought Instagram for $ 1 billion(cash and stock) when their base was 30 million users has hugely benefitted from this acquisition. With Instagram’s user base at 1 billion now, where 100 million+ photographs and videos are shared every day, this has become Facebooks’ most successful takeover by far.
Systrom has always praised Zuckerberg for the autonomous powers bestowed on their hands even though they were acquired. Zuckerberg wanted to keep the culture of Instagram alive as it was its most defining quality. But the recent data crisis has stirred even the strongest, with Jon Koum, the co-founder of Whatsapp leaving in April which is described by analysts as a move due to clashes with Facebook.
It is unclear who will lead the company on the founders’ departures but one of the names being touted as the next boss of Instagram is Adam Mosseri who’s currently head of product. Without Systrom and Krieger, Instagram could see its autonomy dwindle and appointing Facebook loyalists at the top may do more harm than good.