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WhatsApp, was incorporated in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former employees of Yahoo!. After Koum and Acton left Yahoo! in September 2007, the duo traveled to South America as a break from work. At one point they applied for jobs at
Facebook but were rejected. For the rest of the following years Koum relied on his $400,000 savings from Yahoo!. In January 2009, after purchasing an iPhone and realizing that the seven-
month-old App Store was about to spawn a whole new industry of apps, he started visiting his friend Alex Fishman in West San Jose where the three would discuss "...having statuses next to individual names of the people," but this was not possible without an iPhone developer, so Fishman introduced Koum to Igor Solomennikov, a
developer in Russia that he had found on RentACoder.com. Koum almost immediately chose the name "WhatsApp" because it sounded like "what's up", and a week later on his birthday, on February 24, 2009, he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in California.
However, early WhatsApp kept crashing or getting stuck and at a particular point, Koum felt like giving up and looking for a new job, upon which Acton encouraged him to wait for a "few more months".
In June 2009, Apple launched push notifications, letting developers ping users when they were not using an app. Koum updated WhatsApp so that each time the user changed their statuses, it would ping everyone in the user's network. WhatsApp 2.0 was released with a messaging component and the active users suddenly swelled to 250,000. Koum visited Acton, who was still
unemployed while managing another startup and decided to join the company. In October Acton persuaded five ex-Yahoo! friends to invest $250,000 in seed funding, and as a result was granted co-founder status and a stake. He officially joined on November 1. After months at beta stage, the application eventually launched in November 2009 exclusively on the App
Store for the iPhone. Koum then hired an old friend who lived in Los Angeles, Chris Peiffer, to make the BlackBerry version, which arrived two months later.
WhatsApp was switched from a free to paid service to avoid growing too fast, mainly because the primary cost was sending verification texts to users. In December 2009 WhatsApp for the iPhone was updated to send photos. By early 2011, WhatsApp was
in the top 20 of all apps in Apple's U.S. App Store.
In April 2011, Sequoia Capital was the only venture investor in WhatsApp and paid approximately $8 million for more than 15 percent of the company in 2011 on top of their $250,000 seed funding, after months of negotiation with Sequoia partner Jim Goetz.
By February 2013, WhatsApp's user base had swollen to about 200 million active users and its staff to 50. Sequoia invested another $50 million, valuing WhatsApp at $1.5 billion.
In a December 2013 blog post, WhatsApp claimed that 400 million active users use the service each month. As of April 22, 2014, WhatsApp had over 500 million monthly active users, 700 million photos and 100 million videos were being shared daily, and the messaging system was handling more than 10 billion messages
units granted to WhatsApp's founderscapitalists to date. Days after the announcement, WhatsApp users experienced a loss of service, leading to anger across social media.
The acquisition caused a considerable number of users to move, or try out other message services as well. Telegram claimed to have seen 8 million additional downloads of its app.
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