Even now, it’s still shocking how the remarkably low distribution costs of the web can change a founder’s fate overnight. Many startups are duds, and most grow at a clip that’s just not fast enough to justify an interesting valuation.
But once in awhile, a company comes along and just nails it. The right timing. The right market. The right place. Then all the rules you know about multiples, comparable benchmarks and so on just buckle under the pressure of momentum.
News of Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram boomeranged around the Web. The interest made complete sense. Instagram, a start-up which had existed for a mere 551 days, which had never made a cent in revenue, and which employed just a dozen people, had pulled off one of the most impressive exits in recent memory. And it all seemed to happen overnight.
When Instagram launched its first app in October 2010, it did not strike most people as the kind of startup that would be acquired for $1 billion. The app had almost 200,000 users within the first week. By February, it had 1.75 million users, and three months later that number had jumped to 4 million.
Designers at Visually have compiled an infographic that documents the startup’s journey from photo app to $1 billion startup using, appropriately, Instagram photos.