Instagram Raises $7M Led by Benchmark

Published on February 2, 2011
by Liz Gannes

The photo-sharing start-up Instagram this morning announced it has closed a $7 million first-round funding led by Benchmark Capital’s Matt Cohler and including Quora founder Adam D’Angelo, Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey, and angel investors Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital and Steve Anderson of Baseline Ventures.

Instagram, which is available only for the iPhone, has grown quickly from its launch in October, and now has 1.75 million users and 290,000 photos posted per day. The company thinks of itself as a sort of personal digital magazine, and will likely monetize through sponsored accounts and advertising from brands that fold in with its community’s stream of pictures.

Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom was a former Google and Nextstop product manager who also interned at Twitter predecessor Odeo. His San Francisco-based company has a team of just four people.

Instagram is in a class of peers who seized on similar concepts (smartphone-enabled media-sharing communities) at similar times. Picplz was first to take its Series A, with $5 million led by Andreessen Horowitz (there was some drama because that firm had also invested in Instagram early on). Path yesterday raised $8.65 million led by Kleiner Perkins and Index Ventures. Now for the hard part: Building real companies.

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