Things sure do happen fast when you’re wicked popular. On Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg just announced that his social network has agreed to acquire the photo-sharing darling Instagram, adding that “their talented team will be joining Facebook.” In a press release, Facebook says the deal was for a jaw-decimating $1 billion “in a combination of cash and shares of Facebook.”
The news follows a whirlwind week for the clubby favorite. After launching on Android last Tuesday, the startup picked up an additional million users (it already had 30 million iPhone users) in 12 hours. That kicked off rumors via AllThingsD on Friday that Sequoia was close to investing $50 million for a Series B round that valued the startup at $500 million, which TechCrunch just confirmed.
Just before the acquisition, TechCrunch reports, Instagram closed a $50 million Series B round from Sequoia, Thrive Capital*, Greylock and Benchmark at the expected $500 million valuation. “Investors, many of whom didn’t know about the Facebook acquisition, literally doubled their money (which was wired to Instagram on Thursday) overnight.”
On the Instagram blog, CEO Kevin Systrom assured users that Instagram will remain in tact after the acquisition:
“It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience.
The Instagram app will still be the same one you know and love. You’ll still have all the same people you follow and that follow you.You’ll still be able to share to other social networks. And you’ll still have all the other features that make the app so fun and unique.”
Zuck reiterates the point in his post, adding:
“We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.
That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.
We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.”
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Facebook has tried to get Mr. Systrom on board. Both Mr. Zuckerberg and Adam D’Angelo approached Mr. Systrom, through connections with the Stanford frat Sigman Nu, when they first came out to Palo Alto. Mr. Systrom turned them down to stay in school, before joining Odeo, which eventually became Twitter. Hence his sweet first-name-only handle, @Kevin.
Someone put the Hipstamatic dudes on suicide watch.
— Lindsay Kaplan (@lindsaykap) April 9, 2012