Inspiring story of Whatsapp founder Jan Koum

It is really fascinating to know about the people who struggled a lot in their early days and achieved big in their future. One of them is Whatsapp founder Jan Koum.

Jan Koum was the son of a construction laborer in Ukraine. At the age of 16, he migrated to California with his family. He lived in a two-bedroom apartment with the help of a social-support program with his mother and grandmother in California while his father lived in Ukraine. He was 21 when his father died, and 24 when his mother died after a long battle with cancer. He worked as a cleaner at a grocery store and eventually developed an interest in programming. He worked as a security tester at Ernst & Young as he studied at San Jose State University and then joined a group of hackers in 1996. It was at Ernst & Young that he met Brian Acton, co-founder of Whatsapp. 

In 1997 he joined Yahoo as an infrastructure engineer along with Brain Acton while still attending the college. They both applied to work at Facebook in 2007, and they were both rejected! In 2009, Koum bought an iphone and realized that the then seven-month-old App Store was about to spawn a whole new industry of apps. It was then Koum discussed his idea of WhatsApp with the name inspired from the common phrase “What’s up?” with his friend Alex Fishman. Same year he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in California.

WhatsApp had the same user interface as the iPhone address book and integrated contacts and even let you make calls directly from the app.

By 2011, WhatsApp become the No. 1 paid social app in the App Store and had logged 10 million downloads on Android. With WhatsApp, they developed a dead-simple mobile app that works a lot like traditional text, or SMS messaging, allowing users to send and receive calls, video, and pictures in addition to messages.

In 2014 Facebook stunned the world when it announced it was scooping up WhatsApp for a jaw-dropping $19 billion – the most it had ever paid for a startup. WhatsApp a simple mobile messaging application went on to become the most popular messaging platform in the world, that’s an inspiration for the upcoming entrepreneurs. 

When asked about their success Koum said, “WhatsApp is simple, secure, and fast. It does not ask you to spend time building up a new graph of your relationships; instead, it taps the one that’s already there”

The story of Koum is one of a lot hardship and let downs but came out on top through hard work and perseverance…


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