Since then, he says the service has grown to about 3 million
registered users, or an average of a half-million new users each month.
Right now the company has four workers — as Systrom puts it,
one non-technical person and one engineer for every million users. Despite
raising $7 million from investors, he says the company has no plans to go on a
hiring spree or seek to cash in on a quick public stock offering, the
stereotypical scenario during the first Internet boom.
“It’s about going after the best people in the world
who want to build a world-class company,” Systrom said. “We are
pretty sold at staying lean for quite a while.”
Instagram got its start at Dogpatch Labs, a San Francisco workspace where as many as 25
small startups at a time occupy desks for a few months while they try to get
consumers and investors interested in their ideas.
Ryan Spoon, 30, oversees Dogpatch Labs for Polaris Venture
Partners, a venture capital investment firm. During the first dot-com wave, he
founded a company in his dorm room at Duke University
to connect high school athletes with college coaches. The website,
berecruited.com, is still around today, unlike many others that started at the
Spoon says that a big difference between those early days
and now is the speed with which social networks can give startups feedback on
whether they have a good idea or not. Investors see that feedback, too, meaning
they’ll have a better sense before they pour money into a company whether it
has a chance.
“It’s easier faster and cheaper to start and
pursue an idea than it’s ever been,” Spoon said. “It’s a fun