India Set to Play Key Role in Instagram’s Journey to 1 Billion Users

Instagram engineering and product teams visit India to analyze improvements and challenges, co-founder Mike Krieger said.


India is becoming a key market for photo-sharing app Instagram as it marches ahead to its one billion monthly-user mark. The country India is a significant contributor and strategic market in the success of the seven-year-old company, Mike Krieger, Instagram co-founder and CTO said in a recent media interview.

The company has grown from 700 million to 800 million monthly active users (MAU) in a little over three months, Krieger told the Times of India, adding that India is a huge part of this growth story.

Looking back, around three years ago, he said that the figures showed that Instagram had 500 million monthly users and this was when he started brainstorming about the challenges that people were facing while using the application. “We identified a few things. Our app was using a lot of data, so it was difficult to use if you did not have a perfect LTE connectivity,” he recalls, adding that they then put an engineering team in New York to focus on how Instagram would work as well, no matter what phone or network the user was on.

“I spent a lot of time with that team and they looked at offline mode and optimizing for data usage,” he said in the interview. “Also, we thought of videos on Instagram,” he added. The engineering and product teams visit India to research on what is working well and what can pose as a challenge to users.

Working along these lines has made Instagram quite a star in India as well as in other countries. The android version of the app was launched in 2012, which opened more doors for the app in the international space. It is now 70 per cent international as compared to an even split between the United States and the international space five years ago.

Krieger also said Facebook teams helped the company in knowing opportunities and benchmarks in market like India.

Talking about the current situation of immigration in Silicon Valley, he says that he has come a full circle. He came to the United States as a student from Brazil and worked on an H-1B visa for some years. But he was constantly working with the Barack Obama administration and things worked out in his favor. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom was able to raise the seed money before Krieger was signed on. “Kevin and I almost didn’t start Instagram together because I wasn’t able to get a visa to be his co-founder. When you are founding a company, you have to move at a startup pace and you can’t wait for months to get the status of your visa,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *