Jan Koum is a Ukrainian-American computer programmer and entrepreneur who co-founded the instant messaging application WhatsApp. He was born on February 24, 1976, in a small village near Kiev, Ukraine. When he was 16, his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Mountain View, California.
Koum’s early life was marked by hardship, and he grew up in poverty. He attended San Jose State University but dropped out before completing his degree. He worked as a security tester for Ernst & Young and later joined Yahoo! as an infrastructure engineer.
In 2009, Koum co-founded WhatsApp with Brian Acton, an instant messaging app that allows users to send text messages, voice messages, and make voice and video calls. The app quickly became popular and gained millions of users worldwide. In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, making Koum an overnight billionaire.
After the acquisition, Koum stayed on at Facebook for a short time before leaving to pursue his own interests. In 2018, he founded a new company called “The Koum Family Foundation,” which focuses on philanthropic endeavors.
According to Forbes, as of 2021, Koum’s net worth is estimated to be $11.4 billion, making him one of the richest people in America. His wealth is mostly derived from his stake in WhatsApp, which he co-founded and later sold to Facebook for a massive amount. However, Koum has also made significant contributions to various philanthropic causes, including education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation.
In conclusion, Jan Koum is an accomplished entrepreneur and programmer who co-founded WhatsApp, one of the most successful instant messaging apps in the world. Despite his immense wealth, he has remained committed to philanthropy, using his resources to make a positive impact on the world.
Here is a timeline of Jan Koum’s life and career:
- February 24, 1976: Jan Koum is born in a small village near Kiev, Ukraine.
- 1992: Koum and his mother immigrate to the United States, settling in Mountain View, California.
- Early 2000s: Koum works as a security tester at Ernst & Young and later as an infrastructure engineer at Yahoo!.
- 2009: Koum co-founds WhatsApp with Brian Acton, an instant messaging app that allows users to send text messages, voice messages, and make voice and video calls.
- 2014: Facebook acquires WhatsApp for $19 billion, making Koum an overnight billionaire.
- 2018: Koum founds The Koum Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that focuses on education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation.
- 2021: Koum’s estimated net worth is $11.4 billion, and he continues to be actively involved in philanthropic efforts.
This timeline highlights Koum’s journey from a Ukrainian immigrant to co-founder of one of the most successful instant messaging apps in the world, and his subsequent philanthropic endeavors.
5 Interesting Facts About Jan Koum:
- Koum was rejected when he first applied to work at Facebook in 2007, and seven years later, he sold his company, WhatsApp, to Facebook for $19 billion.
- He grew up in a small village without electricity or running water, and his family struggled financially after moving to the United States.
- Koum reportedly coded the first version of WhatsApp himself, using a book on iPhone programming as his guide.
- He is known for his commitment to user privacy and has been an outspoken critic of government surveillance.
- Koum drives a Porsche 911, which he bought after WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook.
5 Quotes From Jan Koum:
- “We take our users’ privacy and security seriously, and we’re always working on new ways to protect them.”
- “I grew up in a society where everything you did was eavesdropped on, recorded, snitched on.”
- “I want to personally communicate with the people I care about in my life, not with advertisers and random people around the world.”
- “Advertising isn’t just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought. At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data.”
- “I grew up in a society where there were no opportunities. I have a better life in America because of the amazing opportunities available to people who work hard and hustle.”