By Aaron Bry
In 2009, Brian Acton applied for a job at Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META). He’s lucky he didn’t get the gig.
“Computer engineer and author Brian Acton cofounded messaging app WhatsApp with Jan Koum in 2007; the two had met while working at Yahoo,” said Forbes.
“Facebook turned me down… looking forward to life’s next adventure,” said Acton on Twitter at the time.
Well, his next adventure would end up being a lucrative one. Acton went on to launch WhatsApp with Jan Koum, one of Acton’s former colleagues at Yahoo.
WhatsApp continued to grow, eventually receiving investments from Sequoia Capital and others.
By 2014, Facebook — just five years after passing on Acton — offered to acquire his company $19 billion. At the time, Acton held about a 20% stake in WhatsApp, netting him more than $3 billion in the acquisition.
He wasn’t the only one who made big bucks from the deal. Sequoia Capital received nearly 5000% on its investments in WhatsApp. At the time of Sequoia’s investment in WhatsApp, the messaging company was valued at around $1.5 billion.
WhatsApp Today: The app has more than 2 billion active users, making it one of the most popular apps in the world. Meta runs WhatsApp along with Facebook and Instagram.
According to Forbes, Acton and his business partner sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $22 billion in cash and stock in 2014. Acton left WhatsApp at the end of 2017.
Acton is an investor and a member of the board of the Signal Foundation, which runs a messaging app focused on end-to-end encrypted messaging.
“In 2018, he committed $50 million to Signal Foundation – the nonprofit behind the signal mobile app focused on preserving private communication,” said Forbes.
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