Jan Koum is the co-founder and CEO of the popular social media platform, WhatsApp. He is one of those self-made billionaires who started from scratch. At some point in his life, Koum was living on food stamps. His persistence and quest to survive against all odds are mainly responsible for the person he is today.
Born in Ukraine, he moved to the USA when he was only 16 years old. His family had tough times raising him and other family members due to lack of money. His passion for programming led him to enrol for a course at San Jose State University whilst at the same time working for Yahoo. However, his boss, David Filo, the co-founder of Yahoo, convinced him to drop out of school and focus on working on the company’s project. He gained considerable experience in programming at Yahoo and left afterwards.
In 2009, Koum and his co-founder Brian Acton launched WhatsApp; a real-time messaging app that connects people around the world with internet facility.
In 2014, Facebook bought over WhatsApp for $22Billion. Interestingly, Koum was once denied a job at Facebook.