Jan Koum is one of the co-founders of WhatsApp, one of the widely used text messaging app today. Before creating his empire through WhatsApp, he went through a very rough patch growing up. He didn’t let his circumstances and upbringing deter him to become the successful billionaire that he is now. Jan Koum’s success story is an inspiration to all.

The Early Beginnings

Jan Koum was born in Ukraine. When he was 16, he fled to the United States together with his mother and grandmother. As they were new immigrants, Jan needed to work as a help in a grocery store after school. Eight years later, he was orphaned by his parents. Because of what happened and his current home situation, he lashed out in school and always got into trouble. Jan finished high school but didn’t like it; so, he started teaching himself about computers and network engineering.

Later on, he enrolled at San Jose University to study Computer Science and Mathematics. While studying, he worked part-time in Ernst & Young. One of the firm’s clients is Yahoo! which offered Jan a job while still in college. As he hated school from the get-go, he quit college and worked full-time in Yahoo!.

The Success Story

At 31 years old, he quit his job in Yahoo! with his colleague. They applied in Facebook but were both rejected. Later on, he started coding an app for the Apple App Store, to what we know now as WhatsApp. There was a slow movement on the app, but after five years, users finally picked-up on the app, garnering 400 million users worldwide. Jan Koum then sold the app to Facebook for $19 billion.
In spite of the rejection he got from Facebook, he didn’t give up and acquired something much greater than a measly job offer.