Jan Koum Net Worth $6.8 Billion
Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp is estimated to be worth $6.8 billion. With billions in his name it is hard to believe that Koum hails from a humble background in Kiev, Ukraine. He moved to Mountain View, California at the age of 16 with his mother and grandmother due to an unstable political environment in Ukraine at the time. On arriving in the US, his mother got hired as a babysitter while Koum worked as a cleaner. Koum’s father was to follow his family to the US later, but that never happened. The father later died in 1997.
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By the age of 18 Koum had taken a keen interest in computer networking and programming. He joined San Jose State University and later dropped out. He later on moonlighted as a security tester at Ernst & Young, and shortly after got a job as an infrastructure engineer with Yahoo. This is where he met the other founder of WatsApp Brian Acton. Acton was later to play a vital role of supporting Koum after his mother’s death in 2000 from cancer.
In 2007, Koum and Acton left Yahoo to decompress and travel all over South America for a year. Both Koum and Acton claim to have applied to work for Facebook and were rejected. In 2009, Koum bought an iPhone and imagined that the App Store could grow in to a huge industry of new apps. He later visited a Russian friend, Alex Fisherman, and the two spent hours talking about Koum’s app idea, over tea. This idea would later be transformed into a reality a month later when WhatsApp Inc. was born on 24 February, 2009, in California. Koum claims to have chosen the name ‘WhatsApp’ in relation to ‘what’s up’, a slang kind of greeting.
WhatsApp is a real-time messaging app, which is slowly replacing text messaging. This App is estimated to have about 450 million global users. In an ironical twist, Facebook recently purchased WhatsApp. However, Forbes estimates that Koum still owns about 45% of the company, making Koum to be worth $6.8 billion. From humble beginnings Koum has surely made a mark for himself.