Brian Acton is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur who co-founded the instant messaging application WhatsApp. Born on February 17, 1972, in Michigan, USA, Acton graduated from Stanford University with a degree in computer science in 1994.
Acton’s early career began at Apple Inc, where he worked as a software engineer for nearly a decade. Later, he joined Yahoo! as a senior advertising systems architect. He worked there for four years, during which he met Jan Koum, who would later become his co-founder in WhatsApp.
In 2009, Acton and Koum founded WhatsApp, an instant messaging app that allows users to send text messages, voice messages, and make voice and video calls. The app quickly became popular and gained millions of users worldwide. In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, making Acton an overnight billionaire.
After the acquisition, Acton stayed on at Facebook for a short time before leaving to start his own foundation. In 2018, he founded the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization that develops and maintains the Signal messaging app, a privacy-focused messaging app that allows users to send encrypted messages and make secure phone calls.
According to Forbes, as of 2021, Acton’s net worth is estimated to be $4.5 billion, making him one of the richest people in America. His wealth is mostly derived from his stake in WhatsApp, which he co-founded and later sold to Facebook for a massive amount. However, Acton has also made significant contributions to various philanthropic causes. He has donated more than $1 billion to charitable organizations, including the Signal Foundation, which he founded.
In conclusion, Brian Acton is an accomplished entrepreneur and programmer who co-founded WhatsApp, one of the most successful instant messaging apps in the world. Despite his immense wealth, he has remained committed to philanthropy, donating generously to charitable organizations and using his resources to make the world a better place.
Here is a timeline of Brian Acton’s life and career:
- February 17, 1972: Brian Acton is born in Michigan, USA.
- 1994: Acton graduates from Stanford University with a degree in computer science.
- Early 2000s: Acton works as a software engineer at Apple Inc for nearly a decade.
- 2007: Acton joins Yahoo! as a senior advertising systems architect.
- 2009: Acton and Jan Koum co-found WhatsApp, an instant messaging app that allows users to send text messages, voice messages, and make voice and video calls.
- 2014: Facebook acquires WhatsApp for $19 billion, making Acton an overnight billionaire.
- 2017: Acton leaves Facebook to start his own foundation.
- 2018: Acton founds the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization that develops and maintains the Signal messaging app, a privacy-focused messaging app that allows users to send encrypted messages and make secure phone calls.
- 2021: Acton’s estimated net worth is $4.5 billion, and he continues to be actively involved in philanthropic efforts.
This timeline highlights Acton’s journey from a computer science graduate to co-founder of one of the most successful instant messaging apps in the world, and his subsequent philanthropic endeavors.
5 Interesting Facts About Brian Acton:
- Acton applied to work at Facebook in 2009 but was turned down. He went on to co-found WhatsApp, which was later acquired by Facebook for $19 billion.
- Acton is a strong advocate for user privacy and donated $50 million to the Signal Foundation to develop a secure messaging app.
- He worked as a security tester at Ernst & Young after graduating from college.
- Acton had over 400 million shares of Facebook, worth more than $9 billion, but he decided to leave the company in 2017.
- Acton reportedly created the name “WhatsApp” by playing off the phrase “What’s up?”
5 Quotes From Brian Acton:
- “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
- “The right to communicate in private should be available to all people, everywhere.”
- “I want to give the entire world the ability to communicate freely and privately.”
- “Your story can be whatever you want it to be. You can have a happy ending or a sad ending, or anything in between.”
- “I love the freedom to create and to build, to be innovative and to have a meaningful impact.”