According to New York Times reporter Evelyn Rusli’s telling of the tale: Sometime on April 6 – a couple Fridays back – Mark Zuckerberg picked up the phone, called Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, and told him that he wanted to buy his company.
The billion dollar deal was done in the next 48 hours.
What prompted Zuckerberg to act so aggressively?
The first was some version of this AppData chart, which shows a dramatic, 3X spike in Instagram’s daily active users starting the day the photo-sharing app was finally made available to Android users:
Overnight, Instagram proved it was not going to be limited to one platform (the iPhone) or one demographic (richer iPhone users). It was going big on Android. It was going to go mainstream.
Importantly, the chart does not show all of Instagram’s daily active users – just the ones who login into the app through Facebook. Instagram was showing that it was winning over millions of Facebook users by the day.
The second occurrence that prompted Zuckerberg to act so fast, according to Rusli’s telling, was Instagram raising $50 million at a $500 million valuation in the days after the Android launch.
The Android adoption curve and the fundraising sent a loud message to Zuckerberg and Facebook: Instagram was going to be a well-funded, fast-growing competitor in mobile – a platform where Facebook was weaker, and where most consumers would be spending their time on the Internet by 2015.
Watch below what Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said about Facebook just weeks before the acquisition:
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