Today’s other big Instagram derby winner: Former Facebook exec Matt Cohler of Benchmark

Matt Cohler

Matt Cohler

If there is a second happiest person in this whole Instagram Facebook $1 billion deal, it has to be Matt Cohler. Last February, Cohler, 35, led a $7 million venture round into Instagram, which had only four employees and had just launched its app four months earlier.

At that point, Instagram was enjoying meteoric growth. And yet, the founders seemed intent on taking things slow. By comparison, a month later, Color raised $41 million for a photo-sharing social app that had yet to launch. Let’s just say the first effort fizzled, and Color is trying to pivot.

So it was a coup for Cohler to get his, and Benchmark’s, feet in the door at such an early stage.

But then, Cohler seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

He spent a couple of years at LinkedIn before he stumbled into a handful of guys who had just moved to Silicon Valley from Harvard. According to this interview with TechCrunch:

“I was in silicon Valley, at LinkedIn, prior to joining Facebook; when Mark and Dustin were the two core co-founders of the company, dropped out of Harvard, and moved out to SV. I actually met Mark for the first time the summer of 2004 when we happened to be at Peter Thiel’s office talking with Peter about potentially investing in the company. This was the first, practically angel round of financing. He did end up making the investment, and asked me to come over form LinkedIn to Facebook after he did.

He joined Facebook in 2005 and became vice president of product. He left in 2008, amid a flurry of departures of early Facebook insiders, and then joined Benchmark.

In February last year, after the investment, Cohler joined the Instagram board. So the acquisition by Facebook brings him full circle, in that sense. As far as which firms made what, and which angel investors made what, that remains to be seen. We’ll have to see how much detail Facebook eventually files when it updates its S-1.

But for now, you can bet that between the looming Facebook IPO and the Instagram acquisition, Cohler just may be wearing one of the biggest smiles in Silicon Valley.


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