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The Inspiring Story of WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum.

  • Success Story
  • Friday, 30 Sep, 2022
  • 5231
Inspiring Story of WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum

Ukrainian-born Jan Koum now makes his home in the USA as a computer programmer. He founded WhatsApp and ran it until it was acquired by Facebook. In 2014, his net worth of almost $7.5 billion placed him at position 62 on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans.

Early Life

Everyone nowadays uses social media like WhatsApp and Facebook, and these sites have become integral to our everyday lives. WhatsApp's current CEO and one of the app's original creators is Jan Koum. This skinny-looking giant had a tough upbringing. Koum was born to Ukrainian parents in a little village outside of Kyiv. As a child, Koum's great dedication to privacy preservation was negatively impacted by his upbringing in a Communist society.

He says, "I grew up in a world where everything you did was eavesdropped on, videotaped, snitched on," to explain why his company takes this element of the business so seriously. I grew up in a totalitarian environment and I don't think anybody should have the right to eavesdrop.

His mother stayed at home to raise him while his father built hospitals and schools in his capacity as a construction manager. His family lived without running water and avoided using the phone out of concern that their conversations would be monitored by the authorities. When Jan was 16 years old, he moved to the United States from Europe with his mother and grandmother. Jan went to school and washed floors at a supermarket shop in California while her mother worked as a babysitter.

Unfortunately, five years after Jan and his mother settled, his father grew sick and passed away; he never got to reunite with his family. It was just three years after Jan's father passed away that Jan's mother was also diagnosed with cancer and passed away. He learned network engineering on his own, then proceeded to San Jose State University to major in CS and math while simultaneously being active in w00w00-themed hacker forums on the internet (pronounced whoo-whoo).


He spent the following two years teaching himself computer networking and was then prepared to take on his next task. The experience encouraged him to enrol at San Jose State University and pursue his interest in computer programming. He also started working for Ernst & Young as a security tester. Jan was given the chance of a lifetime when Yahoo signed him on as an Infrastructure Engineer after he had been working there for around six months. At the time, Jan Koum was a full-time student at San Jose State.

For Jan, Yahoo! had turned into a never-ending source of ennui. At the age of 31, he decided to leave Yahoo! and travel the globe with a friend who had also just left the company. They both applied for employment at Facebook, but were ultimately unsuccessful. A full two years later, Jan finally made the investment on an iPhone. He saw the potential in the Software Store and promptly set out to develop a new software that would streamline communication and collaboration. Jan Koum was on the point of quitting up because he couldn't get it to work.

Jan Koum persisted in his inventiveness for a little more, and at the age of 33, he and his former Yahoo! coworker Brian Acton launched WhatsApp. In 2014, it had 400 million users throughout the globe, and its owner chose to sell it to Facebook for $19 billion.

Interesting Facts

Even before Jan established the WhatsApp server, his family had financial difficulties upon arriving in the United States. His mother was a babysitter, and Jan had to clean houses to help support the family.

If you believe you need a degree from Harvard to create ground-breaking technology, you're wrong. You don't have to go to college to make a difference in the world. Jan Koum is a self-taught coding guru.

In 2007, Jan made the decision to leave Yahoo and begin a yearlong trip across the globe. Likely, he did this to rediscover himself and make a fresh start. He tried his luck at Facebook and Twitter, but both companies turned him down.

When 2005 rolled around, Jan Koum had amassed a billion dollars in wealth. When he sold his mobile app to Facebook, he raked in a stunning $22 billion. Mark Zuckerberg, WhatsApp's current owner, also owns Facebook, which Jan started.

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