Co-founder of WhatsApp- Jan Koum’s inspiring success story

From poverty to billionaire, the life of Jam Koum is an inspiration to be witnessed by the world for those who think’ success is just by fate and not by determination’. He is a computer programmer who co-founded the world’s largest social media chatting platform-WhatsApp before it was bought by Facebook. He ranked 62 on Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans in 2014. Today, he stands with a net worth exceeding $7.5 billion.


From where it began:

Born on 24th January 1976, Jam Koum is the CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp. He was born in ina tiny hamlet outside of Kyiv in Ukraine. He grew up in an orthodox, complicated society where actions are watched and you are answerable for your deeds. He went to study computer science and math’s from San Jose University and started investing his ideas into internet networking.

In the next two years, gathering profound knowledge of computer networking, he was ready to start with his assignments. He developed a passion for programming and started to work as a Security Tester for Ernst & Young. He received a lifetime opportunity when he was hired as an Infrastructure Engineer at Yahoo. It soon became boring for him due to the lack of not being able to work out innovatively and he soon dropped out.


The idea:

With his Yahoo partner, Brain Action, Jan began forming an idea of how to improve user experience after new technologies like Skype was already out in the air. Communication those days was expensive and irregular at times. To provide a good solution to this ongoing problem, Jan wanted to create an easy-to-use cross-platform messaging app through which phone calls and texts can become easily accessible to family and friends. In 2009, his friend, Alex Fishman helped him recreate his vision for making this new app. Soon with the aid of a Russian developer, both of them could build the front end of the messaging platform.


The journey to success:

After purchasing an iPhone, Jan realized the Software Store’s potential and began to write code for a new app that will eventually make communication and interaction feasible and easy for the world. With numerous steps of random failures and successes, Jan was finally able to find a new revolutionary app- WhatsApp in 2009 after having stayed with his innovation for years. He made this possible by seeking help from this Yahoo partner Brain Action. In 2014, WhatsApp globally owned 400 members.

The business was legally established as WhatsApp Inc. and the WhatsApp app was launched on 3rd May 2009. The updated software for iPhones allowed push notifications. This changed the game plan and concept of WhatsApp further and Koum reworked its strategy to build the app around people’s social networks. The new version was released in the same year in September proving Koum a massively successful entrepreneur. Experimenting with several business models, the journey of WhatsApp grew rapidly over subsequent years. There were around 10,000 downloads a day after making the download free.


Scaling the company:

Soon several investors from Yahoo started investing in WhatsApp after it showed promising signs of growth. Initially, the cost of SMS verification costs was huge but new businessmen and founders of other apps agreed to invest money to rejuvenate this startup. By 2011, venture capitalists started investing in and through thus Jan came across Jim Goetz from Sequoia Capital who invested $8 million in 2011, followed by $50 million in 2013. From April 2013 to February 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp and the business grew by 265 million users.

Since 2009, WhatsApp has continued to grow and over the past 10 years, its success has elevated boasting 1.5 million users with daily 1 million registrations and 300 million daily users as of 2019. The app today is used globally by 180 countries. Starting from not only sending texts but also sending media files, voice calling, video calling and recently WhatsApp has also come up with a payment gateway of its own. From teens to adults of all ages, you cannot find any who isn’t aware of the term WhatsApp throughout the world.

Nevertheless, the story of Jim Koum is a huge inspiration, motivation, and dedication for any young as well as struggling entrepreneurs out there.


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