Jewish innovation: Facebook swallow WhatsApp

Silicon Valley mogul Jan Koum was a broke Ukraine Jewish immigrant to the US when he started WhatsApp. Read his rags-to-riches tale after Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook paid $19-billion (211-billion at today’s exchange rate) for his business. WhatsApp grew up in Silicon Valley, but its founder’s Jewish background in Eastern Europe gave it its DNA. Read more…
by ANT KATZ | Feb 21, 2014

Popular and fast-growing messaging company WhatsApp was bought by Facebook for $19 billion in a deal announced on Wednesday.  

WhatsApp has become a global force, with 450 million customers who find it an easy way to send messages across borders and between different brands of mobile devices.

Koum - JanFounder and Chief Executive Officer Jan Koum, 37, grew up mostly in the Ukraine, and moved to Mountain View, California, as a teenager, an immigrant path reminiscent of other Silicon Valley successes such as Max Levchin, the Ukrainian-born co-founder of Paypal, and Google’s Russian-born co-founder, Sergey Brin.


.com says that , like technology titans Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, Koum dropped out of college, but in his case, it was San Jose State rather than Harvard.

Koum’s Eastern European background was key to WhatsApp’s creation says Sequoia Capital partner Jim Goetz, who backed the company.

Zuckerberg - Mark
Don’t collect information

Unlike companies such as Google and Facebook -  WHOSE FOUNDER, MARK ZUCKERBERG, IS PICTURED AT LEFT -  which try to learn as much as possible about each usER, WhatsApp does not collect personal information such as name, gender, or age, Goetz wrote in a blog-post, and messages are deleted from servers once delivered.

“It’s a decidedly contrarian approach shaped by Jan’s experience growing up in a communist country with a secret police,” Goetz wrote. “Jan’s childhood made him appreciate communication that was not bugged or taped.”


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