Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp, which was later acquired by Facebook, made an announcement on Facebook earlier today, saying, that he would be leaving the messaging service company to start a new foundation. The startling revelation drew the reaction, in the form of a 'Like' by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself.
After spending 8 years with Whatsapp, which was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion in cash and stock, Acton is now planning to start a non-profit communication tech venture.
Acton co-founded WhatsApp with Ukrainian immigrant Jan Koum in 2009. The duo worked at Yahoo before starting WhatsApp. Interestingly, he had applied for a job at Facebook and was rejected five years before the social media giant bought WhatsApp.
"After 8 years at WhatsApp, I have decided to move on and start a new chapter in my life," Acton wrote on Facebook. "I have decided to start a non-profit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications," he added.
According to a report, Acton was leading the engineering internally for WhatsApp, and his role won’t be filled in by any one employee post his move from the company.
WhatsApp recently launched ‘WhatsApp for Business’ which aimed at simplifying businesses’ interactions with customers. WhatsApp with a 1.3 billion customers still doesn’t generate any revenue but is looking to look at making money and the company is on a hiring spree for a number of key positions.
Talking about this decision, Acton said, "I am very fortunate at my age to have the flexibility to take new risks and focus on what I'm passionate about."
Here’s an excerpt from his Facebook post:
After 8 years at WhatsApp, I have decided to move on and start a new chapter in my life.
I am very fortunate at my age to have the flexibility to take new risks and focus on what I'm passionate about… I'll have more to share in the coming months.
This decision is, of course, a tough one. I'm proud of what our team has accomplished in only a few years, and it's humbling to see that so many people rely on WhatsApp every day.
Cover image source: reuters