What Happened to WhatsApp? The Rise of WhatsApp
What Happened to WhatsApp? The Rise of WhatsApp
The story of the rise of most companies usually involves the founder(s) coming up with an idea while in college, dropping out to focus on bringing the idea to life, forming a team to help them as well as looking for funding and taking it from there. The story of the rise of WhatsApp is however completely different as its founders were not college students but people with a stable job working for a big company. This is what makes the rise of WhatsApp so fascinating as it isn’t like the normal stories we hear. The founders wanted to create an internet messaging application that had messaging and communication at its core, with the now famous, “No ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!” principle as revealed in discussions on the same over at runrex.com. This is why the app has become so popular, as it is all about communicating with friends and family and you are not bombarded with ads when on the app. It is a principle that the app has stuck with, 10 years after its launch even after all the changes it has gone through. This article, with the help of the gurus over at guttulus.com, will look to plot the path of the rise of WhatsApp, from an idea to an industry leader.
WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009, two former Yahoo employees in their thirties who had left their job to explore and travel the world. This, as can be expected, took a toll on their finances and when their savings began to dwindle, they decided to apply for a job on Facebook, but they weren’t successful and were turned down. Who knew back then that they would cross paths with Facebook once again later on? The idea first came to Koum in 2009 after he had bought an iPhone and soon realized how much potential the app industry had, especially due to the newly opened App Store. This was when the idea to create a hustle-free instant messaging app, as he had noticed a gap in that particular market, with the app being able to display statuses next to the names of the individual users, came to him; with a more detailed history of the same to be found over at runrex.com. Long story short, Koum discussed his idea with Acton and in order to execute the idea, which was impossible without an iOS developer, the two sought out the services of a Russian developer from a freelancing site known as RentACoder.com as revealed in discussions on the same over at guttulus.com. After a number of bumps along the way, they successfully developed the iOS app, and on the 24th February, 2009, they incorporated WhatsApp Inc.
WhatsApp 1.0 had lots of issues such as battery draining among others discussed in detail over at runrex.com, and wasn’t well received by the people Koum demoed to. However, Acton, being a good friend, encouraged Koum to keep going and not give up. The breakthrough came in June of 2009 when Apple launched the push notifications update and Koum capitalized on this by making alterations to the app to enable it to send push notifications to friends whenever a user changed their status on the app which paved the way for updating the app and making it an internet-based instant messaging application. With that, WhatsApp 2.0 was born, launching initially in its beta stage, and was very popular among people who found it a great alternative to Blackberry’s BBM which was only available for Blackberry, and G-Talk and Skype and within a matter of months, the app had accumulated 250,000 users. After the beta stage, the app was fully launched on the App Store in November 2009. More features were added including the ability to send photos, and although at this time WhatsApp was a paid app, the number of users kept increasing as discussed over at guttulus.com.
More investment came in the shape of Jim Goetz of Sequoia Capital who put in about $8 million dollars for 15 percent of the firm in 2011, with more on the deal to be found over at runrex.com, and the investment paid off as the rise of WhatsApp continued to gather pace as by February of 2013, the app had more than 200 million users. This increase in users was overwhelming to the founders and they approached Sequoia Capital for a second round of funding, and they got some $50 million, valuing the company at $1.5 billion. The business model also changed from a paid model to a subscription model where the first year was free, and thereafter users had to pay a fee of a dollar per year. Then came the next step in the rise of WhatsApp as they were acquired by Facebook in a deal worth $19 billion in February of 2014, who viewed it as a potential competitor. After the Facebook acquisition came a number of changes as can be expected, with the key one being the launch of the WhatsApp for business application in 2017 which allowed businesses to create their business profile for WhatsApp for free and was a big hit among small and medium businesses. Another feature that was added was payment through WhatsApp through partnerships with banks especially in India. Then came another big milestone as the first money-making add-on, WhatsApp for Business API, was released, and its workings are discussed in detail over at guttulus.com. This paid feature paved the way for WhatsApp marketing which is yet another step in the rise of WhatsApp which has gone from a communication app to one of the biggest players in online marketing.
The only way for WhatsApp, with Facebook on board, seems up, especially given that it has seen its user base rise to over 1.5 billion in over 180 countries. You can get more information on this and other topics by checking out the highly regarded runrex.com and guttulus.com