Photo-sharing app Instagram has nearly doubled its total number of registered users since December, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom announced Sunday at the South by Southwest conference, according to The Huff Post.
Instagram is a photo sharing social network that only exists on the Apple iPhone. It allows people to take pictures, assign filters, and then post them to a variety of social networks including Facebook and Twitter.
In November 2011, the company had already amassed 13 million members in its 13 months of existence. That number has now grown by 14 million in the last 5 months, reports Venture Beat.
Founder Kevin Systrom, who spoke about the achievement at interactive conference South By Southwest, did not disclose how many of those 27 million users were actually active users.
“At the end of the day, people are really excited about Instagram and they’re not excited about it because it makes your photos look beautiful. They’re excited because it networks people across the world and it’s the single fastest growing thing in mobile period,” Systrom said. “It’s Facebook-level of engagement that we’re seeing.”
Kevin Systrom also announced at SXSW Sunday that the long-awaited Android version of Instagram is nearly here, tells Mashable.
He teased the version on stage, but didn’t provide a demo. The Android version is currently being tested in private beta and will be released “very soon.”
Systrom described the Android app as even better, in some ways, than Instagram’s iOS app, and noted that the Instagram team had been “working hard on making this one of the best Android apps you’ll ever see.”
“When I say superior I just mean it’s really, really fast,” Systrom noted. “The more we work on this stuff, the more we learn and the better it gets for everyone.”
At present, Instagram is available only on Apple’s iOS platform.
Twenty-five thousand people registered for Instagram the day that it launched, Systrom said.
“The second we launched we knew we had something different,” he said. “It was nothing like anything I’d ever seen before.”
Co-founder Mike Krieger added that folks over at Android have been pretty impressed with the way the app leverages the platform. It’s taken awhile to come to Android simply because the company was focused on scaling on iOS, Systrom said.
“I don’t think it took us so long. We just had priorities. Had we tried to be both on Android and iPhone at the same time, it would’ve been tough to innovate in the way that we have,” he said, according to Tech Crunch.
It is also rumored that the company is raising a $40 million round of funding that could rocket its valuation from $25 million up to $500 million. It hasn’t yet figured out a business model, however, at least not one that it has mentioned publicly.
Systrom didn’t really offer any clarity on rumors that the company is raising $40 million at a $500 million valuation.
“Good companies are always fundraising,” he said. “Whether you’re meeting people or considering firms, you’re always fundraising. But it doesn’t mean we’re active. We’re trying to create a long-term, viable company that doesn’t come and go with fads. It should be something that lasts and creates meaningful value.”
He was also coy about what Instagram’s business model will ultimately end up being. The app currently doesn’t have any advertising and it doesn’t have any in-app purchases. Path, in contrast, sells some filters. (But it also has far fewer users with the latest publicly shared figure being 2 million registered users.)
“We have a visual platform and advertisers like visual mediums. They like TV and magazines, but attention is moving online and they want to switch,” he said.
“I do believe that Instagram has put a stake in the ground and we’re growing more quickly than anyone. Is there something in there we could do to make it a multi-billion dollar business? I think we can figure out something along the way.”