Instagram Investor: The Company Sold ‘Completely Prematurely’

Douglas Leone Sequoia

[credit provider=”Sequoia Partners”]

Sequoia Capital’s Doug Leone was an Instagram investor for only a couple of days before Facebook swooped in and bought the photo-sharing company for $1 billion in April.His firm had just led a $50 million investment in the company, in a cash-and-stock that valued Instagram at $1 billion (before Facebook’s cratering share performance after its IPO tanked the value of its stock).

Instagram “sold completely prematurely,” Leone said at a conference, VentureWire reported. “A billion dollars sounded great to the founders. Imagine what Instagram could be. It could be the next Facebook on the mobile phone.”

Sequoia roughly doubled its money in the deal. But Instagram has tripled in size since it sold. Between April and September, when the deal closed, Instagram grew from 30 million users to 80 million users; it’s now at more than 100 million users. 

More people use Instagram’s mobile app than Twitter’s. And Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom feels confident enough in his service’s position as part of Facebook to force Twitter users to click through a link to Instagram’s website to view a photo.