For the last 4 years we’ve been running Unsplash as part of Crew but a few weeks ago we announced that we'll be splitting Unsplash and Crew into separate companies.
Unsplash started as a Tumblr blog with public dropbox links as a way to help Crew grow. Though Unsplash barely worked on day one, 20,000 people signed up after we posted it on HackerNews (though we got plenty of negative comments).
After a few months, Unsplash grew to over 1 million downloads even though we were spending about an hour a week on it. We realized we may be onto something special so my co-founder Luke went on Unsplash full-time to re-create Unsplash as a custom site. Over the last couple of years, we slowly grew the team from 1 to 5 people. And just a few months ago, Unsplash passed 1 billion photos served/month and 100 million photo downloads. A photo featured on Unsplash is now viewed more than the front page of the New York Times and the cover of TIME magazine.
As we've built Unsplash, we've always tried to openly share what we're going through, good and bad. Including things like how much Unsplash costs.