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WhatsApp – The Start Up That Brought 19 Billion To Its Founders

This is one of those stories that are little hard to believe, but it is completely real. A story about a young guy, who came up with a bright idea and cashed it out for $16 billion of dollars. Jan Koum, one of the founders of WhatsApp (www.whatsapp.com) is now one of the richest people in the world, and he made all this in just a few years. Here is how it happened…

WhatsApp History

Jan Koum was an ordinary guy, thirty something years old, who lived a normal life. But one day in the early 2009, while he was doing his exercises at the gym, a bright idea would change his life forever and make him a billionaire. The fitness club he was visiting forbade the use of mobile phones. Koum didn’t like this, he hated missing calls and this is how he decided to make something allowing him to chat with his friends. That was he birth of the WhatsApp idea.

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Koum knew that he needed a partner in this initiative, someone who had the know-how and experience. He turned to his friend Brian Acton, who had it all. He was working in Yahoo in that time and he had a sound experience with the latest IT technologies.

The logo of WhatsApp

The logo of WhatsApp

Over the 5 years WhatsApp has been growing, Koum and Acton have always followed a simple rule – no ads, no marketing. They wanted WhatsApp to be just a simple and powerful instant messaging mobile application. This was probably one of the main reasons for the success of the app. Almost every user hates ads popping here and there and this was one of the reasons people chose this one. They didn’t sell advertising and they didn’t buy it. Probably there is no such a company in the USA, not spending even a dime for marketing. And this turned out to be a strategy for billions.

During the years, people liked WhatsApp more and more. The number of registered users have been increasing really rapidly. Today, the number of active users has reached 500 million and its currently growing with around 25 million per month. The instant messages sent via the platform are around 20 billion daily. These numbers didn’t stay unnoticed by the big sharks…

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Facebook Buys WhatsApp For 19 Billion

On the 19th of February, 2014, Facebook announced it was buying the instant messaging platform for the incredible $19 billion of dollars. The biggest social network will pay $4 billion in cash and the rest $12 billion will be paid with Facebook shares. According to the ageement, additional $3 billion in restricted stock units will be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to finishing the deal. This made Jan Koum and Brian Acton billionaires overnight.

Today WhatsApp is available for almost any device: Android, iPhone, Nokia, Windows Phone, etc. Everyone can download it and use it for free for up to a year. After this period, a fee of $0.99 has to be paid in order to continue to use the application.