The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Imagine the time before 2009, when you had to pay for every single text that you sent to your friends or loved ones. Well, you still have to pay for SMS messages but when Jan Koum and Brian Acton launched their messaging app on Apple App store in 2009, they revolutionized text messages.
It won’t be wrong to say that the introduction of WhatsApp led to the extinction of SMSs and telecom companies suffered huge losses but the users got the best messaging service which they deserved. Here are some cool facts about WhatsApp which you probably didn’t know and once you know about them, you’ll love this app even more than you already do.
WhatsApp has been founded by two ex Yahoo employees who got tired of corporate life and wanted to chase their own dreams. After a few setbacks they tried for a job at Facebook but got turned down and 5 years down the line the same Facebook offered them $19 billion for their product.
Also, it is noteworthy that the company which got evaluated for a figure more than entire NASA’s annual budget consists of only 55 employees. By the time of April 2015 the messaging app is used by almost 1/6th of the world’s population and this number is increasing at an exponential rate. One million new users get registered on the app each day and the only reason of this astounding popularity of this app is that it is as simplistic as it gets. Just plain and ad free messaging.
WhatsApp has literally spent $0 on marketing and advertisements and the result is in front of all. In order to know more astonishing facts about WhatsApp, read the easy on the eye infographic below which has been developed by shoponless.com and if you know some other cool facts about this most loved messaging app, share them with us and the world in comments.
Courtesy of: ShopOnLess.com
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History of WhatsApp
WhatsApp Inc was founded in the year 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, who were both the former employees of another tech giant-Yahoo! Both theses employees quit their jobs for taking a break from work and after purchasing an iPhone in January 2009, Koum realized that the app store is going to see a huge rise in the app industry. With this in mind an app idea was developed which allowed users to update statuses for showing it to the people in their network.
Koum immediately chose the name WhatsApp, as it sounded like ‘whats up’, for the app and on February 24, 2009, he incorporated WhatsApp Inc in California. The App was officially launched exclusively for the apple store in November 2009.
The blackberry version of it came 2 months later and as of today it has killed the market of Blackberry’s flagship texting app- BBM. In the consecutive years WhatsApp was released for Symbian and Android in 2010 followed by Windows in 2011.
WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook on February 19, 2014.
The transaction of US $ 19 Billion was the largest transaction backed by venture capitalists till date.
All this wouldn’t have been possible if Jan Koum gave up when early version of the app kept crahing and wasn’t user friendly at all.
His partner Brian Acton Gave him strength and encouraged him keep going. Imagine if Koum would have dropped the idea at that time, we wouldn’t have been able to connect with our loved ones so easily.
Initially WhatsApp’s functions were limited to updating status messages only and there was no feature of sending messages in its early years. WhatsApp has a come a long way from there to become the app we so love today.
In June 2009, when Apple launched push notifications and just after that Koum updated the app so that all the people in a person’s network get notified when he/she changed his/her status. With the release of WhatsApp 2.0, it included a messaging feature that lead to an exponential increase in the number of active WhatsApp users.
The number of active users reached 250,000 in no time. In December 2009, the Apple version of WhatsApp was upadated so that it can share photos along with mesages
Brian Acton was given a co-founder status in October 2009 when he persuaded 5 of his Yahoo! Friends to invest $250,000 in seed funding of the company. Acton officially joined the company on November 1st 2009.
The Black Berry App of WhatsApp was developed by Chris Peiffer, who is a close friend of Koum.
After getting the initial funding of $250,000 WhatsApp generated additional funding of $7 million from Sequoia Capital. By the time WhatsApp reached a user base of 200 million in February 2013, Sequoia agreed to invest another $50 million in the fast growing company.
WhatsApp switched from a free to paid service in order to apply some breaks on its growth rate and also to cover its cost of sending verification text messages to new users.
How does WhatsApp generate revenue?
The one and only way by which WhatsApp earn its revenue is charging the subscription fee from the users. In most of the countries the first year of WhatsApp service is free on almost all platforms and after an year it charges from $0.99 to $1 for one year of service from its users.
WhatsApp is the simplest app with top notch features and absence of advertisements. The idea of Jan Koum and Brian Acton was to provide a service that made the life of customers better and was light on the pocket and they knew if they provide that to the customers, they would willingly pay for it.
With more than 800 million users paying $1 every year for state of the art messaging services, WhatsApp does not need to save the customer data and sell ads in order to generate revenue. That is what makes it so efficient and so loved by the masses.
Year by year revenue of WhatsApp
According to the financial statements disclosed by Facebook after acquiring WhatsApp, the revenue of messaging app came out to be $ 15 million at the end of June 2014. The net cash used in operating expenses during this period was $ 13.5 million which sounds pretty reasonable.
For the year ending in December 2014, the revenue of WhatsApp was $ 10.2 million and net cash used in operations was $ 9.9 million. The previous year’s revenue of the app was $ 3.8 million.
Facebook broke down the money it spent in acquiring the messaging app as $ 2.026 billion for the user base, $ 448 million for the brand, $ 288 million for the technology, $ 21 million for other and the balance of approximate 15 billion for goodwill.
Security Issues in WhatsApp
A security hole was reported in WhatsApp in May 2011, which left user accounts vulnerable to session hacking and packet analysis. The text of WhatsApp were not encrypted and used to be sent in plaintext which meant messages could be read easily by hackers if packet traces were available.
WhatsApp rectified the glitch in the subsequent update but that turned out to be one of the major problems in the earlier version.
In January 2012, WhatsApp got removed from the iOS App store due to unknown reasons but was re-added 4 days later. Even the Window platform discarded WhatsApp from its store in 2014 for a few days due to technical difficulties. It was re-added later in May 2014.
In February 2015 a Dutch University student, Maikel Zweerink, published an app that proved that anyone can track a WhatsApp user’s status and display picture, regardless of their privacy settings.
Interesting statistics and facts about WhatsApp
- As of April 2015, WhatsApp has more than 800 million active users.
- India has the largest number of active users on WhatsApp and it formulates more than 10% share of its user base.
- More than 1 million users get registered on WhatsApp daily.
- As of January 2015, 30 billion messages gets sent and received on WhatsApp daily.
- More than 700 million pictures get shared on WhatsApp daily.
- More than 200 million voice notes get shared on WhatsApp everyday.
- More than 100 million video messages shared every day.
- Average amount of time spent by users on WhatsApp at a weekly basis is 195 minutes.
- Before Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, Google offered to pay $ 10 billion for WhatsApp.
- WhatsApp is responsible for 27% of selfies shared on social media.
- As of December 2014, the total share of WhatsApp in APAC messaging app market was 13%.
- WhatsApp recently introduced voice call feature on WhatsApp, making it the most efficient OTT app available in the market.
- In April 2015, Forbes predicted that telecom companies will lose about $386 billion between 2012-18 due to OTT apps like WhatsAPP.
- WhatsApp founder Jan Koum was denied a job at Facebook in 2008.
- Nokia series 40 was the first non smart phone to support WhatsApp.
- The oldest device which is currently capable of running WhatsApp is Nokia N95.
- WhatsApp got available for Android Smart Watches in August 2014.
- WhatsApp launched its web client in January 2015. The web client of whatsapp allows the users to use WhatsApp on their computers.
- The Desktop version of Whatsapp is available to only Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone users.
- WhatsApp is the 5th most downloaded App on Android.
- Apart from facebook, even Twitter had a chance to hire both of WhatsApp’s founders but they didn’t.
- Jan Koum keeps a note from Brian taped to his desk that reads “No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!” To keep them focused on building a pure messaging experience.
- WhatsApp messaging volume overtook the world SMS volume long time back.
- WhatsApp has a total of 55 employees. Out of which only 34 are engineers. That means there is a ration of 1 developer to 23 million active users
- The average user checks the app approximately 23 times per day.
- An average user ends more than 1000 messages per month on WhatsApp.
- As of early 2014, an average user shares about 40 pictures, 7 videos and 13 voice notes per month on WhatsApp. You can only imagine what the number would be now.
- As proved by facebook, WhatsApp is worth more than entire annual budget of NASA, which is 17 billion.
- As of February 2015, WhatsApp is at 6th position in the list of global brands which rank highest in consumer engagement vis a vis expectations.
Popularity of WhatsApp in Various Countries
- 84% of mobile phone internet users in Argentina use WhatsApp.
- 31% of social messaging users in Ireland use WhatsApp.
- There are more than 70 million active WhatsApp users in India.
- 36% of mobile web users in United Kingdom use WhatsApp.
- 40% of Italian divorces cite WhatsApp texts as evidence.
- 81% of iPhone users in Italy avail the services of WhatsApp.
- 57% of Indonesian Smart phone users use the services of WhatsApp.
- 17% smart phone users in Finland use WhatsApp.
- 8% of US teens (14-17 years) use WhatsApp on a daily basis.
Popularity wise, this newly acquired asset by Facebook is the most used OTT messaging App in the world. Therefore, we can say that every cent of the $19 billion spent by Facebook was worth it.
Tips and Tricks of WhatsApp
Although the user interface of WhatsApp is quite simple but there are many features of the app which are hidden from the average users.
For example, did you know you can hide your ‘last seen’ , ‘display picture’ and ‘status’ from unwanted users or did you know that you can hide your mobile number and deactivate the ‘read script/blue tick’ feature?