CALIORNIA, U.S. - After spending eight years with the company that he formed with Ukrainian immigrant Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton announced that he would be leaving.
Acton has said that he is leaving the team to pursue a non-profit organisation "at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications."
Acton and Koum co-founded WhatsApp in 2009, which has now become the biggest messaging app in the world with over a billion users globally.
In 2014, the company was acquired by Facebook in a landmark tech deal at the time for $22 billion in cash and stock.
While Tencent was reported in the running for the acquisition, Mark Zuckerberg managed to snag the deal before the Chinese company could.
The sale made the Stanford alum, Acton a billionaire - with Forbes pointing out that his net worth, courtesy the WhatsApp-Facebook deal, stands at $6.5 billion.
After joining the Facebook team, WhatsApp has seen several changes, with introductions of features such as the revamped Status and video calling, among others - managing to retain its top spot.
In a Facebook post announcing his departure from WhatsApp, Acton 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.”
Before starting WhatsApp with Koum, Acton worked at Yahoo.
Acton is also said to have been turned down for employment by Twitter in the same year.
At WhatsApp, Acton led the engineering and primarily pushed for encryption integration.
The messaging app currently boasts of over 1.3 billion users.