WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to leave company

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Brian Acton is leaving WhatsApp to found his own foundation.


Paul Sakuma

Brian Acton, a co-founder of the popular messaging app WhatsApp, said Tuesday he will leave the Facebook-owned company to launch his own foundation.

Acton, who founded the popular messaging app with WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum in 2009, said in a Facebook post his foundation will focus on 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,” Acton said. “I’ll have more to share in the coming months.”

Acton, a graduate of Stanford University and former employee of Apple, met Koum while both were working at Yahoo. The pair left Yahoo in 2007 and launched WhatsApp two years later.

The app, which connects customers to send missives to one another over the Internet rather than using traditional SMS messages through a phone carrier, reaches a billion customers each month. It’s growing particularly fast in Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and India.

Facebook bought the company for $19 billion, helping to give the 45-year-old Acton a net worth of $6.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on  Acton’s departure.

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