Photo: Cristian Castillo
Instagram is one of the hottest startups in San Francisco. Its Android version hit 1 million downloads in just 24 hours.But the popular photo sharing app doesn’t have a direct messaging service like Twitter does.
We talked to Castillo today.
Business Insider: When did you launch an Instagram messaging service?
After reaching 10,000 users in January, I started to get more involved and developed a new web version, things kept growing. In February, my brother did a new icon and that’s when everything started happening.
People were adding the web app to their home screens and posting screen shots on Instagram:
We peaked at 62,000 visits to our web app in one day. Then I decided to develop the iOS app.
I worked with my brother Roman and got the iOS app done in 15 days.
After review by Apple, the app launched on the AppStore last Thursday. It has gotten more than 150,000 downloads since then.
BI: This isn’t your first app, though. When did you start making apps?
CC: I’m a serial entrepreneur. Since college I’ve been hacking stuff and some have gotten big while most haven’t. The most notable company was in partnership with my brother a sponsored SMS service that allowed free Web to SMS messages for end users. Sending over 10,000,000 SMS in only four months, getting 300,000 visits and over 1,000,000 pageviews a day.
My brother and I had an IMC (integrated marketing communications) agency before that and also a couple of projects on the side. I’ve been on and off stuff since.
I currently own a co-working space that has been the focus of my attention for the past year.
The idea was to get the cash flow necessary to develop stuff such as instaDM We are based in Mexico, for the launch of the iOS App I partnered with my brother and we worked remotely. I’m in Mexico City, he is in Monterrey.
BI: How are you growing?
CC: Here are some numbers: 217,000 registered users, 18,000 registered users yesterday, 56,000 people logged into the app in the last 24 hours. 115,000 people logged into the app in the last week.
We are currently #5 top free app in our category. We are currently #40 top free app on the App Store.
Photo: Christian Castillo
BI: Do you have any investors?
CC: We currently do not have any backing from investors. It has been profitable since we placed ads in February.
Also, we’ve received over 865 in-app donations since launch.
BI: Do you just want to sell to Instagram?
CC: I would hope to be able to grow it into a messaging or app development company, that may or may not involve selling the company to someone else.
BI: When did you start doing thisT?
CC: I am a Computer Systems Engineer, and have been hacking stuff since I was 17.
Although I’ve gotten very good offers, including being a number six employee in a TechStars company in New York with over 5 million in funding, I always wanted to do things my way, which is something hard to do when it’s not your company or idea. I have plans of moving to USA when necessary, but I really appreciate being able to afford a very high quality of life here in Mexico, thus I am delaying my decision.
I don’t see myself as a coder, but as an entrepreneur being able to hack the first iterations of my product.