employees in their small office in Mountain View. But this didn’t prevent it from becoming one of the most popular chat apps worldwide, racking up over 50 million downloads in just 3 years after its launch. In 2014, just two years after launch, the company was sold to Facebook for $19 billion.
With barely any starting capital (the seed round was $250,000), WhatsApp needed to keep operation costs down. To build and launch the product, the company turned to Eastern Europe in an attempt to source the required tech talent. WhatsApp hired offshore developers from Russia because “there are excellent engineers there”, according to co-founder, Jan Koum.
Most of the in-house employees were focused on customer support and operations, while development was handled offshore. However, while WhatsApp initially contracted most of its engineering staff offshore, it relocated some of the contractors to the USA later on.