Berliner Amongst Instagram Staff Who Will Share $100m

By David Knight |

It was a genuinely staggering exit – one which caused such a stir that even Jon Stewart was riffing on it. And, according to reports, one of the 11 people set to become instant millionaires thanks to Facebook’s billion-dollar purchase of Instagram is from Berlin.

Gregor Hochmuth is a photographer and computer scientist who has only been working for the photo service since January. But like all employees there, he received shares to top up his pay.

Those shares are now equivalent to a winning lottery ticket – with $100m (€76m) reportedly being shared amongst the 11 workers at Instagram. But the deal is worth even more for the co-founders: $100m Mike Krieger and $400m for Kevin Synstrom, who is just 26 and who initially started the company 18 months ago.

According to the Daily Mail, the group of 11 employees – one of which, a Dutchman, has been at the company for just three weeks – includes a Berliner. Hochmuth is currently making a name for himself as a photographer with an exhibition in Toronto. Whether his windfall will prove to be another sign of the growing Berlin presence in Silicon Valley is another thing.

It could, however, spell good news for Berlin-based EyeEm, a competitor to Instagram, which is seemingly benefitting from an influx of users unhappy with the Facebook deal.

In a press release announcing the deal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised that Instagram would be allowed to develop independently and said: “We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

“These and many other features are important parts of the Instagram experience and we understand that. We will try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.”