WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has decided to leave the company after spending eight years there. In a blog post, Acton said he plans to start his own non-profit organization. Interestingly, Acton’s decision to exit the company coincides with the platform finally looking to turn a profit.
WhatsApp co-founder to start a non-profit
In a Facebook post, the co-founder said he will leave the company in November by assigning his responsibilities to other employees.
“After 8 years at WhatsApp, I have decided to move on and start a new chapter in my life….I’ve decided to start a nonprofit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology, and communications,” he said. “It’s something I’ve thought about for a while, and now it’s time to just focus and execute. I’ll have more to share in the coming months.”
For now, the Whatsapp co-founder has not revealed what his new venture will be, but he did say that he will have more to share in the months to come.
WhatsApp, with its 1.3 billion users, is now looking to make some real money from its platform. In recent years, the company has brought several key people onboard, and reports suggest that the company is designing various enterprise products. For now, the chat app does not generate any revenue.
WhatsApp once said it would never sell ads. However, since Facebook acquired the chat app, there have been reports about the possibility of ads on the platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also dropped similar hints while talking to analysts this summer. Facebook Messenger already started showing ads on its home page in July.
WhatsApp: the journey so far
WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion in cash and stock. Acton founded WhatsApp with Jan Koum in 2009, and before that both worked at Yahoo. According to Forbes, Acton’s net worth was estimated at around $6.5 billion. At WhatsApp, Acton has been supervising the engineering team.
Jan Koum has often stated that WhatsApp’s simplicity and efficiency have remained important, even under Facebook. In an interview with FastCompany recently, Koum also talked about the quieter environment in the office, saying that the engineers and founders are fond of a distraction-free environment.
“We’re a little bit older and a little bit crankier than probably a typical college graduate. So we’ve always preferred to have a very quiet office environment,” he said.
When Facebook acquired WhatsApp, the platform already had more than 450 million monthly active users. Just two years later, the service had grown to 1 billion. Now the platform has expanded to 1.3 billion monthly users. On a daily basis, nearly 55 billion messages, 4.5 billion photos and 1 billion videos are shared on the platform. The chat app is available in over 60 languages and is widely used in India, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil.
WhatsApp has been active on the development and new feature front. The chat app recently introduced color text-based statuses, taking a cue from Instagram. The new feature will be available for both iOS and Android users and will allow users to add colors, backgrounds and different fonts in the status section.