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WhatsApp: A Journey from Free Messaging to $19 Billion Valuation

WhatsApp is a popular mobile application that allows users to send texts, make calls, and share multimedia messages with friends and family members. With over two billion active users around the world, WhatsApp has become an important communication tool in our daily lives.

In this article, we will look at the history of WhatsApp and the features that make it such a popular messaging application.

Overview of WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a free instant messaging app that enables users to send messages and share multimedia content like images and audio recordings. The app allows users to send text messages, voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share files with one another.

The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms and can also be accessed through a web browser.

Features of WhatsApp

WhatsApp has several features that make it stand out from other messaging apps. One of its most popular features is end-to-end encryption, which ensures that conversations and data shared over the app are kept private and secure.

WhatsApp also allows users to change the background of their chats, create custom wallpapers, and add emojis and stickers to their messages. The app also has a group chat feature that enables users to add up to 256 people in a single chat, making it ideal for group communication.

Other features of WhatsApp include automatic message backups, the ability to block contacts, and sending voice messages.

History of WhatsApp

WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by two former Yahoo employees, Jan Koum and Brian Acton. The two met while working at Yahoo and began working on an app that would allow users to create custom status updates.

However, they soon realized that the app was not very popular and decided to pivot towards messaging. After several rounds of funding, WhatsApp was released in 2010 and gradually gained popularity among users.

Founders of WhatsApp

Jan Koum and Brian Acton are the co-founders of WhatsApp. Koum grew up in Ukraine and moved to the United States in 1992 with his mother.

He enrolled in San Jose State University and worked as a security tester for Ernst & Young before joining Yahoo. Brian Acton, on the other hand, is an American entrepreneur who graduated from Stanford University.

He co-founded WhatsApp with Koum and has been vocal about his belief in privacy and user data protection.


WhatsApp is a popular messaging app that has gained a considerable following around the world. Its end-to-end encryption, group messaging features, and voice calling options have all contributed to its widespread appeal.

Additionally, the app’s founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, have worked tirelessly to ensure that user data is protected and that their users’ privacy is safeguarded. With new features and updates being added regularly, it’s easy to see why WhatsApp remains one of the most popular communication tools available today.

Monetization of WhatsApp

As WhatsApp grew in popularity, it became necessary for the company to find ways to monetize the app. In this section, we will explore two key ways that WhatsApp has monetized its platform.

Monetization of WhatsApp – Business API

One way that WhatsApp has monetized its platform is by the introduction of its Business API (Application Programming Interface). The WhatsApp Business API is a paid service that allows businesses to send notifications, updates, and customer service messages to their customers via the WhatsApp platform.

This API allows businesses to automate communication with their customers, reducing the need for manual intervention. This feature has been a huge hit with organizations that are looking for ways to engage with customers in a more personalized and efficient manner.

The Business API is charged on a per-message basis, with the cost depending on the location and volume of messages sent.

Monetization of WhatsApp – Payment Fees

Another way that WhatsApp has monetized its platform is through its payment service, which allows users to transfer money to other users and pay for goods and services. Previously, WhatsApp did not charge fees for its payment services.

However, starting in November 2020, WhatsApp began charging a 0.5% fee for each transaction made through its payment service. This move was seen as a way for WhatsApp to monetize its platform and generate revenue from its vast user base.

Payments on WhatsApp are processed through the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), and the company has promised to ensure the safety and security of users’ financial information.

Funding and Valuation of WhatsApp

Funding and Valuation of WhatsApp

WhatsApp has had a relatively short journey from its founding in 2009 to its acquisition by Facebook in 2014. Over this period, WhatsApp grew rapidly and attracted a significant amount of investment.

In 2011, WhatsApp raised $8 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital. The following year, WhatsApp raised another $50 million in funding led by venture capital firm, Neeraj Arora.

When Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, the app was valued at $19 billion. This was a massive valuation considering that the app had just 55 employees and had only recently launched its iOS version.

The acquisition made both Koum and Acton instant billionaires and marked a significant milestone for WhatsApp and its founders. Revenue of WhatsApp

Since its inception, WhatsApp has focused on building its user base and providing a simple, secure, and free messaging platform.

This meant that the company did not generate revenue from user subscriptions or advertisements. However, after its acquisition by Facebook, the social media giant began to look for ways to monetize the WhatsApp platform.

According to Statista, WhatsApp generated revenue of $240 million in 2019. This represented a modest increase from the previous year’s revenue of $100 million.

Despite the increase, WhatsApp’s revenue was still relatively low compared to other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This is due in part to WhatsApp’s user-first approach, which has kept the app free of advertisements.


In conclusion, WhatsApp has come a long way since its founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, developed the messaging app in 2009. The company has achieved significant growth, attracted substantial investments, and was eventually acquired by Facebook in a record-breaking deal.

While WhatsApp has remained committed to its user-first approach, the company has found ways to monetize the app through its Business API and payment services. Furthermore, the company has remained focused on delivering the best user experience possible, which has allowed it to grow its user base and generate revenue despite not relying on advertisements.

In summary, WhatsApp is a popular mobile application that has become an essential communication tool for over two billion users worldwide. It started as a messaging app, but it has since evolved to include features such as video and voice calls, group chats, and end-to-end encryption.

The company has monetized its platform through its Business API and payment services. Additionally, WhatsApp has attracted significant investments and was acquired by Facebook for a record-breaking valuation of $19 billion.

Despite not relying on advertisements, WhatsApp generated revenue of $240 million in 2019. Overall, WhatsApp’s user-first approach has allowed it to grow its user base, generate revenue, and remain one of the most popular messaging apps available today.

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