Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp was born in a small village near Kiev in Ukraine. He was the only child of a housewife and a construction manager who built hospitals and schools.His house did not even have electricity. He led a life full of hardships as his family struggled hard to meet ends meet. He used to do menial jobs like cleaning and mopping at a grocery store while his mother took up a baby-sitting job. They lived on allowances from the government.
At 16, Koum’s family emigrated to California. Koum started learning about computers in his spare time. He had also taught himself computer networking by purchasing manuals from a used book store and returning them when he was done. By the time he was 18, he had developed impressive skills, and in 1997, he was hired by Yahoo! as an infrastructure engineer. Little did he realize that this was the beginning of an illustrious career.
Meeting Brian Acton was a turning point in his life. When Koum lost his parent in 2000 the young Ukrainian was suddenly alone; But life’s adversities only made Jan Koum stronger and resilient. He credits Acton with reaching out and offering support.
Acton and Koum left Yahoo in 2007.The most interesting part of their journey is that both Jan Koum and Brian Acton applied for a job in Facebook and were rejected. As savings started getting over, the duo started thinking about new start-up ideas. Incidentally, in 2009, the seeds of this amazing innovation were sown.
The idea was to get people across the world to network on a single platform effortlessly. It took him months of back-breaking work and testing to get the code in place. There were several trying times when things would not fall in place. WhatsApp was formed in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton. WhatsApp had become enormously popular.
On February 19, 2014, Facebook Inc. announced it is acquiring WhatsApp Inc. Koum signed the Facebook takeover contract at the unused building where he and his mother once queued for food stamps in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View, where WhatsApp is located.