'Lonely' exchange student's sob story inspired WhatsApp to become what it is

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 - 3:07pm IST | Agency: ANI

WhatsApp has been acquired by Facebook for a whopping 19 billion dollars, but not many would know that a lonely exchange student in Australia inspired the multi billion dollar company to become what it is.

WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum said that Australia's tyranny of distance and excessively expensive phone call charges are what transformed WhatsApp into a company it is today.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Koum said that he had originally planned to make WhatsApp a paid product, with the goal of being a profitable business, however, once he received an email that changed his plans.

He revealed that he received an email from a girl who was an exchange student and lived in Australia, complaining that how she was 'all by herself' and she didn't have any family in the country and since it cost too much money for her to send them a message or call them.

Koum said that he couldn't say no and gave her a link to the app, and that was the moment when he realised they had a mission of making sure people can communicate easily and affordably no matter where they were in the world, and that is what they set out to do.

The report said that the student's sob story helped to ensure the company concentrated on providing a high quality service at no cost, which in turn has won it a large and valuable user base and getting acquired by Facebook, despite earning just US20 million dollars in revenue last year.


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