WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton is planning to leave the company he helped create. Acton described his motivation to leave WhatsApp in a Facebook post Tuesday evening. Acton will officially leave the company in November and transition his responsibilities to other engineers at the company, a source familiar with the matter told VentureBeat.
“I’ve decided to start a nonprofit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology, and communications,” Acton wrote. “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.”
In 2009, Acton launched WhatsApp with now CEO Jan Koum. Over the years, WhatsApp became one of the most-used chat apps on Earth, which today has 1.3 billion monthly active users and 1 billion daily active users. In 2014, WhatsApp was sold to Facebook for more than $16 billion.
He leaves the company a week after WhatsApp launched monetization efforts that had been in the works for more than a year centered around connecting businesses with WhatsApp users. The Facebook-owned company enters the space to connect businesses and customers on chat apps as rivals like Twitter, Skype, Apple’s iMessage, and Facebook Messenger attempt to do the same.
WhatsApp is a company that at one time committed to never sell ads, however CEO Mark Zuckerberg has alluded to the possibility of advertising for the chat app in conversations with analysts this summer. Facebook Messenger began some advertisements on its home page in July.