How an econ student built the 'Rich Kids of Instagram' account, where the offspring of billionaires have to pay up to $2,000 just to be featured

  • Popular Instagram account "Rich Kids of Instagram" (RKOI, now "Rich Kids of the Internet") was founded by 27-year-old James Ison in 2020, wrote The Times' Jessie Hewitson.
  • Ison posted a picture of billionaire Michael Dell's son that went viral and teamed up with two anonymous New Yorkers to create RKOI.
  • Today, RKOI has over 372,000 followers and charges wealthy millennials up to $2,000 to be featured.
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Infamous Instagram account "Rich Kids of Instagram" (RKOI, since renamed "Rich Kids of the Internet") had humble beginnings.

In a recent profile for The Times, Jessie Hewitson wrote that James Ison, age 27, started the account in 2012 after posting a single picture that quickly went viral: Zachary Dell, son of billionaire Michael Dell, feasting on a buffet in a private jet.

Ison was an econ university student enamored by the wealthy world, Hewitson wrote, a sharp contrast from his modest childhood upbringing. Soon after he began reposting pictures of the children of millionaires and billionaires, two New Yorkers (who remain anonymous) who were separately doing the same reached out to Ison. The resulting collaboration was the beginning of RKOI, according to Hewitson, where you now have to pay up to $2,000 to be featured.

RKOI currently boasts over 372,000 followers and an endless stream of wealthy young millennials pictured living their lives to the fullest, from driving Bugattis in Switzerland and taking yacht trips to Montenegro to attending the Royal Ascot and splurging on $50,000 watches. Their summers are especially lavish.

It's become so popular that spin-off accounts began cropping up, such as Rich Kids of Turkey and Rich Russian Kids. Many started as satires, wrote Tom Sykes for The Daily Beast, but nevertheless became a place for the youth to flash their riches.

Despite the wealth that RKOI has brought Ison, Hewitson described him as down-to-earth, someone who forgoes flashy cars and refuses to post tasteless pictures of people surrounded with stacks of cash.

Ison has since befriended some of the rich kids, building trust to help him launch his next venture: RKOI Concierge, which Ison told Hewitson is an "Ask Jeeves for the 0.1%."

Read the full article at The Times »

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