September 13, 2017; TechCrunch
Brian Acton, the cofounder of WhatsApp, has announced he’ll be leaving the Facebook-owned platform for the greener pastures of civic life. In other words, he’s starting a nonprofit.
WhatsApp, the world’s most used messaging app, was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $22 billion. Though it does not yet turn a profit, it does have 1.3 billion users—many overseas, where it first became a staple of social media. Apparently, the company’s focus of late has been in monetizing the service.
The 45-year-old Acton made his announcement in a post to his Facebook account:
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’ve decided to start a nonprofit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology, and communications. 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.
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.
And with that, another billionaire seeks to enter our arena—this one with $6.5 billion in personal assets in tow.—Ruth McCambridge