Instagram, a thriving young startup responsible for one of the App Store's most popular photo-sharing and editing applications, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $7 million in first-round funding.
The San Francisco-based startup has only been on the scene for a few months, but has already achieved enormous success. Instagram was launched in October and already has approximately 1.75 million users, who collectively post as many as 290,000 photos per day. Not bad for a four-person company that is set up in a transformed conference room.
Instagram's first major round of financing was led by longtime VC investor Benchmark Capital and a host of other major players in the tech world, including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and former Facebook CTO and Quora co-founder Adam D’Angelo. The company said that it will use the influx of cash to expand its engineering team and add new features to the app. As part of the deal, Benchmark partner Matt Cohler will join the startup's board of directors.
A great deal of Instagram's initial success can be attributed to the iPhone's five-megapixel camera, which is capable of taking high-quality photographs. The app allows users to apply filters to their photos, post them to various social networking sites as well as follow and interact with other users. Business Week reports that Snoop Dogg recently signed up for an account and already has 2,000 followers.
"There's this new wave of folks that are obsessed with mobile phones and obsessed with taking photos of the little but beautiful parts of their day, like sunsets," Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram, told the news source. "People are now sharing their lives as they happen."
All Things Digital's Liz Gannes speculates that the company will soon look to monetize the app through targeted advertising and by sponsoring accounts. A rumor began circulating late last year that Instagram could be acquired by Facebook, but the report proved to be inaccurate.
The photo-sharing app is currently only available to iPhone users. It can be downloaded for free by clicking here.
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Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.Edited by Tammy Wolf
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