Instagram's Systrom coy on ad plans, user data

Wed Dec 5, 2012 3:51pm EST
 

By Matt Cowan

PARIS (Reuters) - Instagram's youthful Chief Executive Kevin Systrom allowed himself a luxury at a Paris technology conference that he never feels comfortable doing in San Francisco: wearing a tie.

The founder of the popular photo-sharing app, now owned by Facebook, looks less comfortable when asked whether he'll soon be adding advertising to his service.

"We don't have any specific plans to share about advertising yet, mostly because we're focused on growing the company as quickly as possible," Systrom said in an interview with Reuters TV at LeWeb technology conference in Paris.

The decision, he conceded, may no longer be his alone.

Instagram, which has 100 million users sharing pictures taken on their mobile phones, was acquired by Facebook in April for $1 billion in cash and stock.

With Facebook struggling to prove to investors that it can fulfill its much-hyped growth potential and advertising on mobile devices proving particularly tricky, pressure is likely to grow on Systrom to monetize his creation in the near-term.

So far, Instagram is still run largely independently from its parent company, Systrom says, but he admits the grown-up world of focusing on the bottom-line may not be far off.

"Even from the beginning when we started Instagram, we realized we had to build an independent business, and even within Facebook, we realize we still have to contribute to the business," he says.   Continued...

 
Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom, speaks during a Q&A session at LeWeb 2012 in London June 19, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor