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Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom says he has no regrets selling to Facebook for $1 billion, even though it's worth 100 times that now

Key Points
  • In comments before news of his departure, Instagram's Kevin Systrom said he has no regrets about selling to Facebook.
  • Systrom told The Wall Street Journal Magazine that Instagram never had "philosophical misalignments" like the WhatsApp founders.
  • Systrom and Instragram co-founder Mike Krieger announced their departures from Facebook on Monday.
  • Though Facebook doesn't break out individual revenue for its family of apps, Bloomberg estimates Instagram is worth more than $100 billion.
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Instagram founder doesn't regret selling the company to Facebook for $1 billion, even though it's worth 100 times that now, according to The Wall Street Journal's WSJ Magazine.

"I think for where we were, we made an awesome decision," Kevin Systrom told the magazine.

"The whole idea of joining Facebook was that we could scale way more quickly than we would independently. So if that is your goal, I think we've fulfilled that, and then some. If your goal, on the other hand, is not to have a billion dollars but two, or three, or four or whatever, well, good luck spending it. That's not what makes you happy in life."

The interview was conducted before Systrom and Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger announced on Monday they were leaving the company. It was published after the news broke. It contains no hint of tensions between the founders and Facebook leadership.

In fact, Systrom drew a contrast between Instagram and WhatsApp, which Facebook bought for roughly $20 billion in 2014, and whose founders, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, reportedly clashed with Facebook over privacy and other issues. "We're very different from WhatsApp," Systrom told WSJ Magazine. "We never had any of these philosophical misalignments." Acton left Facebook in 2017 while Koum left in May.

Instagram has become something of a shining star for Facebook — avoiding the privacy scandals of the core platform and claiming the youngest users who are increasingly leaving Facebook.

Though Facebook doesn't break out individual revenue for its family of apps, Bloomberg estimates Instagram is worth more than $100 billion, making it one of Facebook's most lucrative acquisitions to date.

Read the full interview with Systrom at WSJ Magazine.

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