Instagram's co-founder explained why he left Facebook. CEO and co-founder of Instagram Kevin Systrom poses during the opening session of LeWeb12 on December 04, 2012 in Saint-Denis, near Paris. Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger made waves in September by announcing their departures from Instagram and parent company Facebook. Systrom made his first public comments about his departure on Monday in an interview with Wired.

According to Systrom, it was just the right time to leave.

In the interview, Systrom compared running Instagram to launching a rocket. He and Krieger helped build Instagram into a social giant, far outpacing its main competitor, Snapchat. By the time the two men left, Instagram was in position to maintain its orbit and keep succeeding.

“It didn’t feel done by any stretch of the imagination, but it felt like it was in orbit,” Systrom told Wired. “And if we let go and let others take it, it would continue to do really well.”

Systrom did not spend much time talking about reports that he and Krieger may have left due to mounting tensions between the duo and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. There were reportedly disagreements between Systrom and Zuckerberg about the Instagram app’s relationship with the Facebook app, as well as Instagram’s level of autonomy in Facebook’s corporate hierarchy.

Systrom said there were “no hard feelings” when leaving Facebook, but noted that people typically do not leave jobs because “everything is awesome.”

Systrom and Krieger stayed at Instagram for six years after Facebook purchased it for $1 billion in 2012. In the interview with Wired, Systrom noted that it is normal for startup founders to eventually leave after their companies are acquired.

“When we sold the company, it was pretty clear to me, based on the pattern of other companies in the past, entrepreneurs don’t stay forever,” Systrom said. “We were on the far side of the average.”

After the departure of Instagram’s co-founders, the company did not take long to name a replacement. Longtime Facebook employee Adam Mosseri leads the photo-sharing app developer now.