Jan Koum Net Worth 2022 – Salary, Income, Girlfriend

Jan Koum Net Worth 

Jan Koum has an estimated net worth of $9.9 billion. Jan Koum is a Ukrainian-born American internet entrepreneur who co-founded the mobile messaging application WhatsApp with Brian Acton. The extremely popular mobile application was acquired by Facebook Inc. in 2014 for a whooping US$19 billion.

Today he is a billionaire and among the richest Americans, but just a few years ago he was so poor that he had to live on food stamps. Jan Koum found a job as a security tester at Ernst & Young, inspecting Yahoo!’s advertising system while still in college. He became friends with Brian Acton, a Yahoo employee, with whom he would have a long-term working relationship in the future.

After working at Yahoo for several years, both Koum and Acton left the job to pursue new avenues in social media. Their love of social media eventually led the two men to found WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application that became the most popular messaging platform in the world.

In 2014, he was included in the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans, ranking 62nd. 

To calculate the net worth of Jan Koum, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Jan Koum
Net Worth: $9.9 Billion
Monthly Salary: $300 Thousand
Annual Income: $20 Million
Source of Wealth: Entrepreneur, Computer Programmer

Learn More: Top 30 Richest People In The World

Early Life

Jan Koum was born in a small village outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on the 24th of February, 1976. His father was a construction manager involved in the building of hospitals and schools while his mother was a housewife. 

Growing up for Jan was tough, as his home had no hot water and even his school didn’t have toilets within the building. Jan’s parents hardly talked on the phone for fear of their conversation being listened to by the government. 

At age 16 (1992), Jan, his mother, and his grandmother immigrated to Mountain View, California, as a result of a troubling political and anti-Semitic environment. His father was supposed to join them later, but this was never to be, as he died in 1997. 

With the help of the government, they were able to secure a two-bedroom apartment, and for some time lived off food stamps. His mother had stacked their suitcases with pens and Soviet-issued notebooks so she wouldn’t have to pay for school supplies in the United States. 

Jan’s mother got a job as a babysitter while Jan worked as a cleaner for a grocery store to make ends meet. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, they lived off her disability check. 

Jan was not particularly fond of school and was regarded as a trouble maker, but he found great interest in computers, and by 18 he had taught himself computer networking by purchasing manuals from a used book store and returning them when he was done.

He joined the hacker group wOOwOO on the Efnet internet relay chat network and hacked his way into Silicon graphics servers.


He enrolled at the San Jose University while working at night as a security tester at Ernst & Young. While working at Ernst & Young, inspecting Yahoo!’s advertising system, Jan met Brian Acton, a computer science graduate from Stanford University, who was Yahoo! Employee No. 44. 

Just like Google boys Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Jan and Acton instantly bonded; they seemed to be two of a kind, both lacking an ability to bullshit. Six months later Jan interviewed at Yahoo! and got a job as an infrastructure engineer. 

Two weeks into his job at Yahoo! one of the company’s sever broke and David Filo, one of the founders of Yahoo! called Jan on his mobile. Jan whispered that he was in class at San Jose University. “What the fuck are you doing in class?” Filo asked, “Get your ass into the office”. Jan had never been fond of school from the beginning so he dropped out. 

In 2000 Jan’s mother succumbed to cancer. Jan was all alone, having lost his father just three years before. Acton was however near to offer the needed comfort and reassurance. For the next nine years the pair worked at Yahoo. Although they were paid well, they found little joy in what they were doing. 

So in 2007, with $400,000 Jan felt it was time to quit. Acton, too. The pair took one year off to decompress, travelling around South America and playing ultimate Frisbee. They both at one time applied for positions on Facebook but were rejected. 

Jan realized he had eaten deep into his $400,000 savings and knew he urgently needed to do something. In 2009 he bought an iPhone and realized that the seven-month-old app was about to spawn a whole new industry of apps. He visited his Russian friend, Alex Fishman, and shared the idea with him. 

The two of them stood for hours talking about Jan’s idea for an app. “Jan was showing me his address book. His thinking was it would be really cool to have statuses next to individual names of the people”. The statuses were to show if the person was on call, in a meeting, or if the battery was low. Jan could build the backend, but he needed an iPhone developer to help make the app work on iPhones. 

Alex introduced Jan to Igor Solomennikov, a Russian developer. Jan instantly chose the name “Whatsapp” because it sounded like “what’s up”, and a week later, on his birthday, Feb. 24, 2009, he incorporated Whatsapp Inc. even when no code for the app had been written yet. 

For the next few months, Jan spent his time writing the backend code for the app, making sure the app would be able to work with any phone number in the world. But despite how much work Jan put into the new app Whatsapp seemed to be going nowhere.

During a game of ultimate Frisbee with Acton, Jan admitted the repeated failings of Whatsapp and expressed his intentions of quitting and looking for a job. 

Acton was furious with him for thinking of quitting and advised him to give the app a few more months. Things changed when Apple launched push notifications, letting developers ping users when they weren’t using an app. Jan updated Whatsapp so that each time a user changed status, it would ping everyone in that user’s network. 

Soon early users began to use the app to ping each other with custom statuses like “I woke up late” or “I am on my way”. Jan watched the way his users changed statuses to communicate with each other and realized he had inadvertently created an instant messaging service.

“Being able to reach someone halfway across the world instantly, on a device that is always with you, was powerful” Jan said. He went ahead to release Whatsapp 2.0 which had a messaging component and watched his active users suddenly swell to 250,000. 

It was at this time that Acton, who had been working on another failing project, joined Whatsapp. But the pair needed capital to properly fund their project, so Acton got five ex-yahoo friends and convinced them to invest $250,000 in seed funding, and as a result, was granted cofounder status and a stake in the company. 

As the Whatsapp user base increased, so did the number of emails they received from iPhone users who were excited about the app and wanted to ‘whatsapp’ their friends on Blackberry and Nokia devices.

So Jan employed Chris Peiffer, who was an old friend, to build the Blackberry version of Whatsapp. Despite the fact that both Jan and Acton worked for free in the early years of Whatsapp, the cost of sending verification texts was eating deep into the company’s bank account. 

But fortunately for the boys by early 2010 Whatsapp was generating an average of $5,000 every month and this helped to cover the cost of sending verification texts. Today, SMS verification cost the company $500,000 monthly. 

By 2011 Whatsapp was in the top 20 apps in the U.S App Store. But the company was not involved in any kind of major advertising; Jan and Acton hated advertising. And even when they knew they needed more seed funding to expand and had to receive financial help from venture capitalist firm, Sequoia, one of their major criteria was that the VC firm would not force advertising models on them.

Sequoia would invest $8 million into Whatsapp in 2011 and in another round of funding round, invest $50 million. By early 2012 Whatsapp’s user base had swelled to 200 million active users. That same year Jan met Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

It took several years of friendship with Jan for Zuckerberg to pop up the question regarding a buyout deal. Zuckerberg told Jan, “if we joined together, that would really help us connect the rest of the world”. 

Jan thought about it for a few days, and on the 19th of February, 2014, in the former North County Social Services office, where Jan once stood in line to collect food stamps, Jan signed the agreement selling over his messaging app for a whopping $19 billion, which instantly made him a billionaire worth $6.8 billion.

Learn More: Top 30 Richest People In The World

Personal Life & Girlfriend

In 1996, a restraining order was issued against Koum in a San Jose court. He was accused of verbally and physically threatening an ex-girlfriend. More recently, he has expressed regret for his behavior.

In 2000, he lost his mother to cancer.

Koum has reportedly been dating Evelina Mambetova, 30, since 2014. Despite their efforts to keep their relationship out of the public eye, the news made its way into the media.

Some even considered Evelina as his wife, but the couple has yet to marry. Furthermore, they continue to maintain a low profile, rarely appearing in public.

Jan Koum Quotes

“I only have one idea, that is WhatsApp, and I am going to continue to focus on that. I have no plans to build any other ideas.”


“Be simple and reliable.”


“We won’t stop until every single person on the planet has an affordable and reliable way to communicate with their friends and loved ones.” 


“We’ve taken SMS technology for consumers and improved it.”


“I didn’t have a computer until I was 19 – but I did have an abacus.”


“There were a lot of negatives, of course, but there were positives to living life unfettered by possessions. It gave us the chance to focus on education, which was very important in the Soviet Union.”


“We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want.”


“A lot of times, people start out with a lot of good ideas, but then they don’t execute. They lose the purity of their vision. You end up running around in circles.”


“I grew up in a country where advertising doesn’t exist.”


“If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it.”


“A lot of what I experienced growing up in the U.S.S.R. and coming to the U.S. as an immigrant actually reflects itself in WhatsApp. Experiences from our youth shape what we do later in life.” 


“In some countries, WhatsApp is like oxygen.” 

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