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The Night WhatsApp's Jan Koum Almost Wrecked His Facebook News (Video)

"It was a little surreal."

Asa Mathat

It was the night before Facebook announced it was buying WhatsApp, and CEO Jan Koum was driving home from the law office where the two companies had been working around the clock for three days to hash out the terms.

The acquisition was to be the largest deal ever for a venture-backed startup, worth some $19 billion — so you can imagine there were a few all-nighters’ worth of work.

So it’s February 2014, it’s 3 a.m., and Koum is about to pull off his exit in Santa Clara to try to get a few hours of sleep before the deal is announced. He’s going 65 miles per hour when his tire blows out. But things could have gone much worse — he was able to safely pull over to the side of the road, and he had a spare tire.

“I was just thinking in my head, tomorrow we’re going to have this announcement, and everyone in the world will learn about this, and the night before I’m on the freeway changing the tire. It was a little surreal.”

For more from the media-shy Koum, watch our interview from our Code/Mobile conference, where he also discussed WhatsApp’s lack of emphasis on business — having generated just $10 million of revenue in 2013 — the values he and WhatsApp bring to Facebook, and announced that the mobile messaging app’s long-awaited voice service would finally launch in the first quarter of 2015.

This article originally appeared on

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