Whatsapp Co-founder Brian Acton is leaving the firm to start a foundation. Acton made the announcement on a post on his facebook wall.
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.
Others have made the move
Acton will not be the first prominent individual in the tech space to make such a move. Bill Gates, one of the co founders of Microsoft Corporation, stepped down as CEO of the company in 2000, and 2008 as Chairman of the firm. The move, according to him was so he could focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which he established in 2000. The foundation is one of the largest in the world with an estimated endowment of over $30 billion. Dustin Makovitz, one of the co founders of Facebook, set up Good Ventures in partnership with his wife in 2006.
Acton’s net worth is estimated at over $3.5 billion, so funds to start up the foundation will not be an issue.
What happens to the company
Acton’s role in the company will be filled by several executives. Co founder of the firm, Jan Koum is still with the company. Whatsapp was founded by the duo in 2009, and acquired by Facebook in 2009 and for $19 billion.