Instagram’s original employees: Who they were, what they’re doing now – Business Insider – Business Insider

Instagram founders Mike Krieger, left, and Kevin Systrom.
Jim Bennett/WireImage/GettyImages

  • When Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012, it only had 13 employees — including founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.
  • While many of the early employees are still at Instagram, several have gone on to other startups, have launched their own companies, or have left the tech world altogether. 
  • Systrom and Krieger stayed at Instagram until September 2018. These days, they’re working on a new website to track the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Instagram has come a long way in the last decade.

In 2010, it was a fledgling location- and photo-sharing app named Burbn that founder Kevin Systrom worked on in his spare time. Eventually, he brought on cofounder Mike Krieger, pivoting the app to primarily focus on photography. 

But Instagram was famously slow to hire employees — Systrom reportedly only wanted to bring on new hires that were truly passionate about the app — and by the time Instagram was acquired in April 2012, the company only had 13 employees, including Systrom and Krieger. 

With the help of Sarah Frier’s new book, “No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram,” we’ve compiled the full roster of Instagram employees at the most important moment in the company’s history: when it was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. Many employees are still at the company, while others have gone on to start their own companies or have left the tech world entirely. 

Here are Instagram’s first 13 employees, and where they’ve ended up since. 

Maykel Loomans was one of three employees who joined Instagram right before it was acquired.


Employed at Instagram: March 2012 — September 2014

Most recent position at Instagram: Product designer

What he’s doing now: Loomans stayed at Instagram for over two years before moving over to Facebook to work as a product designer. He left Facebook in September 2018 to become the head of product and design at beauty startup Glossier, according to his LinkedIn

Ryan Gomba was Instagram’s ninth employee. He joined out of a love for photography.

Gomba at Facebook’s headquarters in 2013.
Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Employed at Instagram: March 2012 — June 2014

Most recent position at Instagram: Product engineer

What he’s doing now: Gomba is the cofounder of Even, a financial services software startup. 

Bailey Richardson helped curate Instagram’s list of suggested follows of artists, chefs, or animals so new users didn’t think the app only catered to celebrities.

Bailey Richardson.
Yana Paskova/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Employed at Instagram: February 2012 — June 2014

Most recent position at Instagram: Member of the community team

What she’s doing now: Richardson is an author and a partner at People & Company, a community-building firm based in New York. Since leaving Instagram, Richardson has spoken out about what she sees as negative changes to the platform, and she announced in 2018 that she was deleting her account.

Philip McAllister came on board to design the Android version of Instagram.


Employed at Instagram: January 2012 — present

Most recent position at Instagram: Director of engineering

What he’s doing now: McAllister worked at Texas-based startup Gowalla until 2011, when it was acquired by Facebook and he was laid off. Four months after joining Instagram, it too was acquired by Facebook, but this time, McAllister stayed on, rising through the ranks to become an engineering director based in New York, according to his LinkedIn

Tim Van Damme was Instagram’s lead designer.


Employed at Instagram: January 2012 — July 2013

Most recent position at Instagram: Product designer

What he’s doing now: After leaving Instagram, Van Damme became a product designer at Dropbox, according to his LinkedIn. These days, he’s the principle designer at Abstract, a design firm based in San Francisco.

Gregor Hochmuth was the first person Systrom approached to be his cofounder. He eventually ended up coming on board as an engineer to make more filters.

Gregor Hochmuth.
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ICP

Employed at Instagram: December 2011 — February 2014

Most recent position at Instagram: Engineer and product manager

What he’s doing now: Hochmuth is now an artist and engineer living in New York. He’s the cofounder of Dreams, a live TV app for your phone. 

Amy Cole was Instagram’s first head of business. She also helped Instagram find its first substantial office with windows.


Employed at Instagram: October 2011 — June 2017

Most recent position at Instagram: Head of brand development for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa

What she’s doing now: Cole is still employed by Instagram’s owner, Facebook, though she’s working in a different part of the business now: as director of product marketing for messaging app WhatsApp, according to her LinkedIn

Shayne Sweeney was Instagram’s first engineer. He built the camera into Instagram so people could take photos within the app.

Kevin Systrom, left, and Shayne Sweeney.
Marcio Jose Sanchez

Employed at Instagram: November 2010 — present

Most recent position at Instagram: Engineer

What he’s doing now: According to his LinkedIn page, Sweeney is still working as an engineer at Instagram, making him the longest-serving Instagram employee now that Systrom and Krieger are no longer at the company. 

Joshua Riedel was Instagram’s first employee.


Employed at Instagram: October 2010 — June 2014

Most recent position at Instagram: Head of community

What he’s doing now: Riedel left the tech sector for a master of fine arts in creative writing at the University of Arizona. According to his website, he’s currently working on a novel and living in Portland, Oregon. 

Mike Krieger came on board as Instagram’s cofounder in 2010 and helped pivot what was an app called Burbn into what is now Instagram.

Mike Krieger.
Chris Saucedo/Getty Images for SXSW

Employed at Instagram: June 2010 — September 2018

Most recent position at Instagram: Chief technology officer

What he’s doing now: Krieger left Instagram in 2018. He has mostly stayed out of the spotlight until April 2020, when, along with Systrom, he launched, a website aimed at tracking the spread of the coronavirus. 

Kevin Systrom started working on Burbn, which would later become Instagram, in the spring of 2010. The original app combined location-based social networking and photo sharing.

Kevin Systrom.
Jim Bennett/WireImage/Getty Images

Employed at Instagram: March 2010 — September 2018

Most recent position at Instagram: CEO

What he’s doing now: Systrom seemingly took a hiatus after leaving Instagram in the fall of 2018. Now, he’s working with Krieger on tracking the spread of the coronavirus through their new website,

BONUS: Cole Rise is a photographer who made the app’s first filters and designed Instagram’s early logo. The “Rise” filter was named after him.


Employed at Instagram: September 2010 — May 2014

Most recent position at Instagram: Design consultant

What he’s doing now: After leaving Instagram, Rise had a stint at Polaroid and founded a photo-editing app. These days, he’s a design manager at Microsoft, according to his LinkedIn


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