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| 3 minutes read

3 minutes read

The Inspiring Story Of WhatsApp Founder Jan Koum

| Published on July 25, 2019

One common app that we can all find on our phones and that we’re completely addicted to is hands down “Whatsapp” but well not all was easy and served to its founder Jan Koum. 

Koum at 16 shifted to the US with his mother in 1992 from hoping to find a better future while his father stayed back in Ukraine with plans to join his family shortly. Provided an apartment and food stamps by a government subsidy helped but Koum had to work as a cleaner at a grocery store while his mother babysat to make their daily ends meet. 

At 18, Jan decided he wanted to learn programme and found a way to study without spending much. He bought used books from a shop and returned them back when he was done learning. He soon dropped out of his school San Jose State. 

Tragedy struck when his father died in 1997 back in Ukraine and his mother departed in 2000 due to cancer leaving him all alone. It was then when he found a true friend in Acton while working at Yahoo who was going through a rough time as well after having lost his investments in dot-com. 

Jan and Acton soon left Yahoo in 20007 to create better advertising. But with no idea of what was the next step the two instead took an year off travelling around South America. But it was not until January 2009 when Koum gave a serious thought to building an app as he discovered the app store in his recent purchase- an iPhone. 

Koum knew programming and could programme the backend but needed an iphone developer when his friend introduced him to a Russian developer he had found on a freelancing website. 

A month later, ‘demo’ing the app to his friends, Koum took notes on the bugs and fixes it needed. But also started to wonder if he should go back to his job when Acton persuaded him to give it a few more months. No one, not even Jan’s friends, were using the app till June 2009, when Apple launched push notifications.

Then soon an incident occurred when a friend changed their status while all the other friends were notified. Funny to others but Koum realised that he had just created an instant messaging app. When Koum released the second version of the app, he was looking at 250,000 users minimum. Acton was still unemployed at this time. However, Koum offered him to be a co-founder who eventually got his friends from Yahoo to invest $250,000.

Whatsapp now has over 1 billion users world-wide all thanks to the never give up attitude of Koum. 

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