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  • Age
    38
  • Title
    Co-founder and CEO
  • Company
    WhatsApp

The Ukrainian-born engineer toiled at Yahoo for nearly a decade with co-founder Brian Acton before traveling South America and eventually developing WhatsApp, the simple, free mobile app that works a lot like traditional text, letting users send and receive calls, video, and pictures, as well as messages. The startup ballooned to hundreds of millions of users—becoming especially popular overseas—and made headlines this February when Facebook—the very employer that turned Koum down for a job years before— bought it for $19 billion. It was the most expensive acquisition ever for a venture-backed startup; Koum famously signed the deal at the former social services office where he once stood in line to collect food stamps.

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