The Entrepreneur Story: Brian Acton, Whatsapp Co-founder

Do you know about the World's Biggest Messaging Service? You must have WhatsApp installed in your smartphone?

Yeah! Whatsapp is the most popular messaging application in the world. With over 1.5 Billion people as active users of Whatsapp, this app is growing on and on.

Credits: WhatsApp 

But it was a farsighted Vision of two greats who made it a huge success.

This is the story of Brian Acton, the co-founder of Whatsapp who gave it all what he had. Come explore how a messaging giant came into action by Brian Acton;

  • The Struggle & Setbacks

For Brian it was not a cake walk. After graduating from Stanford University he started as a system administrator at Rockwell International. From there on he joined Apple Inc and Adobe. He became one of the first employees of Yahoo Inc in 1996. He met the other co-founder of  Whatsapp, Jan Koum in Yahoo. When he lost millions in the dotcom boom. He took a break and came back and got himself interviewed for Facebook where he got rejected. Twitter and Facebook both rejected the brilliant mind of Brian to join in with them. 

With no option left he along with Jan contacted Alex Fishman and thought over their own venture which was set in California in the year 2009 and named Whatsapp.

  • Ideas & Implementation

Brian felt the need of a messaging service that would be encrypted. He kept the likes of the consumers first. The consumers were on the top of his priority list and hence no such publicity and monetization was promoted. Providing the features that made Whatsapp useful and informative, Brian made it a biggie as it reached out not only to the US citizens but to the people all across the globe. They put in their best of the best efforts to make WhatsApp achieve bigger heights which it has attained today.

  • The Circle Of Life

It was Facebook who showed a lot of interest in buying Whatsapp as it was growing at an astounding rate. With the popularity of Whatsapp, Facebook wanted it to be a part of theirs. And when the series of meetings and discussions ended, Brian sold Whatsapp to Facebook at $22 billion

This amount is one of the highest paid for any application. And this way, life turned back a full circle as the Brian got to sell Whatsapp to the company who actually turned him down for a job earlier.

  • Standing For The Principles

Facebook which itself gains about 98 percent of the revenue from ads wanted to introduce the same in the application of Whatsapp. They wanted to monetize it for good keeping the privacy of the consumers at stake. This was the one argument which led to disputes between Facebook and Brian. 

He didn't want to monetize Whatsapp this way as it would end the encryption feature which  he never favoured. He built the app on the principle of keeping the consumers first and never wanted ads, games or any gimmicks out there on his app. 

Another series of meetings, discussions and legal arguments led Brian to leave Whatsapp and worth $850 million stock grant without being vested. This decision was his own and he's even proud of it as he's a man of principles and morals.

  • Never settle

With what he's achieved till date, one would be resting and living one's life as a champion. But he decided to not settle and keep on going for another take in the IT industry. 

He started a new foundation called Signal. It allows people to have access to private communication through an encrypted messaging app. He's also a philanthropist and has built a network through the foundation of wildcard giving. With it he's doing good for humankind. In 2019 Brian and his wife came out as the biggest givers as they gave more than $1 billion for charitable causes.

So here's what an entrepreneur turned philanthropist has achieved from having nothing to giving a lot to the needy out there. The story of Brian is witness that when your hold world comes crashing down, all you need is a strong character and never say die spirit.


Categories: Entrepreneur stories


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