IT WAS a multibillion dollar vindication for WhatsApp founder Brian Acton. Mr Acton’s company was acquired by Facebook yesterday for $US16 billion but it could have all been a lot cheaper for Mark Zuckerberg. If only he hadn’t rejected Mr Acton five years ago.
In 2009, after he left a senior engineering gig at Yahoo, Acton applied for a position at Facebook, only to be turned down. He left this message on Twitter:
“Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.
But Facebook wasn’t the only one to reject Mr Acton. Twitter also said thanks-but-no-thanks.
“Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s ok. Would have been a long commute.
Failing to secure a position at the two mammoth social firms, Mr Acton teamed up with Jan Koum to start up WhatsApp that same year. Yesterday, Mr Zuckerberg forked out an unprecedented $US16 billion in cash and stock, plus a further $US3 billion in restricted stock, to buy WhatsApp, which has one of the fastest user growth rates.
Mr Acton has approximately 20% equity in WhatsApp and is personally expected pocket about $US3 billion, according to Forbes .
An expensive lesson for Facebook’s HR department.