Instagram founders are leaving the company

Instagram founder: What I learned about humanity?

The founders of Instagram are stepping down from the business they started eight years ago in San Francisco and built into a global phenomenon used by a billion people.

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger founded the photo-sharing app in a co-working space in 2010. It became a runaway success, attracting tens of millions of users before the co-founders sold it to Facebook (FB) in 2012 for $1 billion.

With the tech heavyweight’s backing, Instagram continued its spectacular growth, adding features including video, stories and most recently, its own version of TV.

But Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, and Krieger, its chief technology officer, have now decided to leave their posts.

“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” Systrom said in a blog post late Monday. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”

He added that they both “remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described Systrom and Krieger as “extraordinary product leaders.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next,” he said in a statement.

— Rob McLean contributed to this report.