"While others sought attention, Jan and Brian (WhatsApp co-founders) shunned the spotlight, refusing even to hang a sign outside offices in Mountain View," writes venture capitalist Jim Goetz in a post on behalf of Sequoia Capital, the only venture firm that backed WhatsApp. This speaks volumes about the co-founders of the company that Facebook has bought for $19 billion. Jan has a note from Brian on his desk "No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!". This message acts as a constant reminder of their commitment to a pure messaging experience and is a reflection of their unshakeable faith.
Founder and CEO Jan Koum, 37, grew up mostly in Ukraine but shifted to California as a 16-year-old teenager. His family was struggling financially and initially they lived on food stamps (state-funded food grants). Like tech titans Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, Koum also dropped out of college.
Unlike Google and Facebook, which try to learn about each user, WhatsApp does not collect personal information on name, gender or age. and the messages are deleted from servers once delivered. Facebook has committed a break-up fee of $2 billion in cash and stock if the deal does not mature due to regualtory hurdles. WhatsApp will continue working independently with a policy of no advertising. The messaging company is now a global force, with 45 crore customers who find it handy to send messages across borders and between different mobile devices.