WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to leave company for his own foundation

Shubham Sharma
WhatsApp co-founder leaves company

Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp, is leaving the popular Facebook-owned company to launch his own nonprofit foundation.

Acton, who launched WhatsApp with CEO Jan Koum eight years ago, announced his departure in a Facebook post on Tuesday (12 September). He wrote: "I have decided to move on and start a new chapter in my life" – a "non-profit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications."

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"It's something I've thought about for a while, and now it's time to just focus and execute," the 45-year-old added. "I'll have more to share in the coming months." He will officially leave the company in November, according to VentureBeat's sources familiar with the matter.

Acton, a Stanford alumnus and a former Apple employee, worked with Ukrainian immigrant Koum at Yahoo. The duo left the company in 2007 to start WhatsApp in 2009.

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The internet messaging service has grown into one of the biggest platforms in the world with 1.3 billion users and over a billion daily active users. It is not active in some countries but has grown exponentially in Brazil, Mexico, Russia and India.

"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," Acton said in his post.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19bn in a cash and stock deal. The social media giant has not yet commented on Acton's departure.

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