“We’re part of the Facebook reject club.”
— Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging app. Acton tells Forbes that he and co-founder and CEO Jan Koum, both former Yahoo employees, once applied to work for the social network but weren’t hired. Good thing — Facebook on Wednesday announced that it has bought WhatsApp for $16 billion in cash and stock. That’s the biggest purchase price for any Silicon Valley company, our own Peter Delevett and Brandon Bailey reported. Five-year-old WhatsApp now has 450 million users, more than double the 200 million users it had in April, when Delevett and Bailey profiled the San Francisco company. And WhatsMore, former Facebook reject Koum gets a seat on Facebook’s board.
Other notable numbers: WhatsApp users pay 99 cents a year; the company has only 53 employees (not including Koum and Acton); and Fortune reports that Google had offered to buy WhatsApp for $10 billion. By the way, in case you missed the memo, messaging is hot: Last week, Rakuten bought Viber for $900 million. As for Facebook, its shares are down about 3 percent as of this post.
Photo: Messages sent with mobile apps such as WhatsApp are not limited to 160 characters the way traditional text messages are, and they can include scribbled notes, doodles and emoji. Some apps have games. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/MCT)