Instagram Is Coming to Android

During their South by Southwest 2012 presentation last Sunday, Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced that the mobile photo app will hit the Android market “really soon.” Although the company briefly showed off the application on stage, they didn’t give a full demo. They also pointed out that they’re not yet ready for a walkthrough.

Coming Soon: Instagram for Android

Launched in 2010, Instagram is a free photo-sharing application that lets users to take, share and upload photos on various social media sites while on the go. The application got 25,000 registered users on its first day, and was able to acquire a $7 million Series A round a few months after.

The application is only available for iOS devices, until last Sunday when the announcement was made. The news made the people at Google very happy. When asked what took them so long to release Instagram for Android, Systrom replied:

I don’t think it took us too long. We just had priorities. Had we tried to be both on Android and iPhone at the same time, it would’ve been tough to innovate in the way that we have.

Fundraising, in the Works?

There were also rumors that Instagram was close to raising $40 million from investors, which would value the startup at $500 million. However, neither founders confirmed it during their SxSW presentation.

In a fireside chat with TechCrunch editor Alexia Tsotsis, Systrom said:

Good companies are always fundraising. Whether you’re meeting people or considering firms, you’re always fundraising. But it doesn’t mean we’re active. We’re trying to create a long-term, viable company that doesn’t come and go with fads. It should be something that lasts and creates meaningful value.

Regardless, they were able to garner 27 million registered users. Much of this growth was the result of iPhone 4S’ release and Apple naming Instagram as the “App of the Year.”

The Ultimate Business Model

The app currently doesn’t have any advertising or in-app purchases. Thus, many people wonder how its business model will end up. Systrom replied:

We have a visual platform and advertisers like visual mediums. They like TV and magazines, but attention is moving online and they want to switch. I do believe that Instagram has put a stake on the ground and we’re growing more quickly than anyone. Is there something in there we could do to make it a multi-billion dollar business? I think we can figure out something along the way.

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