Brian Acton, the co-founder of the Facebook-acquired messenger application WhatsApp, has decided to step down on Wednesday afternoon. He announced on Facebook that he was leaving the company to start a non-profit venture of his own.
His Facebook post said, “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 non-profit 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.”
Here are some interesting facts about Acton:
1) Acton co-founded WhatsApp with Jan Koum in 2009 and agreed to sell it to Facebook in 2014 for approximately USD 19 billion in cash and stock. The duo also worked together at Yahoo, before starting WhatsApp.
2) Acton is a Computer Science graduate from Stanford University from the batch of 1991-1994. He was a part of many multinational companies like Apple, Adobe, and Yahoo and played some major roles in engineering there. He was the 44th employee of Yahoo.
3) According to Recode, Acton has an estimated net worth of USD 6.5 billion.
4) Acton was rejected from Facebook, back in 2009. He tweeted, "Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life's next adventure." In the same year, he was rejected by the microblogging site Twitter as well.
5) Acton used to lead the engineering team internally and played a crucial role for WhatsApp's push into encryption.
6) Acton chose the name WhatsApp because it sounded similar to daily phrase "What's up".
7) Born on February 24, 1972, Acton's mother advised him to start his own venture. He spent most of his childhood in Michigan, where his mother ran a freight shipping firm. He started his career in 1992, with Rockwell International as a system administrator.