No Degree, Just Skills: Jan Koum, the Man who Founded WhatsApp Inc.


WhatsApp is a daily-day commodity now. From an auto rickshaw driver to a corporate billionaire, almost everyone is on WhatsApp. It is one app which was taken the entire social media and instant messaging with a storm and played the most vital role in near-extinction of SMS. And, this software was created by the man named Jan Koum.

Jan Koum, the startup’s co-founder became the most talked about entrepreneur overnight, when Facebook announced that it was buying the mobile messaging startup WhatsApp for $19 billion in February 2014.

But, if media reports are to be believed WhatsApp had actually devasted the Facebook Messenger services b so much that Mark himself initiated the talk to turn Facebook’s most potential rival into an ally.

Mark just wanted to be ‘friends’ with Jan. However, this friendship has cost Mark Zuckerberg $19 billion, to be precise.

-The New York Times

Jan was born in a village on the outskirts of Ukraine and was the only child to a housewife and a construction laborer.

His surroundings and home were even below the average standards of healthy livelihoods.

Forbes reported that his house had no proper water or sewage facility and there were the frequent dumpings of molecular wastes near his home.

Eventually, when the situation turned worse, they shifted and took refuge in California. Jan was just 16 then and to make a living, he started to sweep the floor of a grocery store. He also had to stand in long lines to collect food stamps. By 18, he was an expert computer hacker.

He was left out of any formal education due to these adversities but in nearby public libraries, he started learning skills from relevant journals. He was driven to the topics of computer basic and cyber security, and by 18 he was an expert computer hacker.

He was driven to the topics of computer basics and cyber security, and by 18 he was an expert computer hacker.

He then got a low-paying day job at Ernest and Young’s as a security analyst. There he met Brian Acton, who was impressed with his technical abilities. In 1997, he was hired as an infrastructure engineer by Yahoo.

In January 2009, when Koum bought an iPhone, he realized that it was an incredible platform which can give rise to a whole new industry of mobile applications.

On his birthday, February 24, 2009, he formed WhatsApp Inc. in California.


-Jan Koum

Jan Koum is still the CEO of WhatsApp which now operates under the parent roof of Facebook.

In February 2017, WhatsApp crossed 200 million monthly active users in India. And as of February 2017, WhatsApp has over 1.2 billion users globally.