No dilution, bootstrapped, greenfield tech and mind boggling earn out. A once in a generation business story.
I always mention WhatsApp when people want to do something overly complicated.
If I remember correctly since 2016, WhatsApp is completly free from any fee charge? How is facebook planning to use that? Finally integrate with facebook?
If carriers had proactively disrupted their business model and offered free/cheap SMS sooner, it's unlikely that WhatsApp would have succeeded despite their simplicity and focus. This is why they never took off in the U.S., where carriers did away with SMS fees faster.
Having said that, focus is absolutely a reason why WhatsApp beat out its other free-messaging app competition. But the "mind-boggling earn out" is more about the business model -- network effects, exploiting incumbent blindspots, etc.
Brian Goetz mentioned that Sequoia built a tool they called "Early Bird" to help them keep track of messaging apps that show lots of traction in non-US app stores which was how they knew they really needed to get a Whatsapp deal, at any cost.
May I suggest a Black Swan as the main character for your fairytale? :)
Similarly it's crazy to see how high up people like Moskovitz are in billionaire lists. I've gotten used to Facebook being a $400B company (now they are a $500B company), so obviously stock owners like Moskovitz will be worth tens of billions, but it's still crazy nonetheless. Just checked. He's ranked 60th richest.
I think WhatsApp was just overvalued, personally. It's excellent in many ways, but I cannot see Facebook ever making their money back on it.
Solar panels are relatively cheap these days. Maybe you don't need battery backup.
Good luck to Brian on his next adventure.
After a while you want to do something different.
Not necessarily - and I'd say this is typical example of the Great-Man Myth. That role might be better served by someone other than a founder.
It has proved that a new paradigm of software development is ready to be opened up in the developing world, has small and big businesses knocking down the door to get in, and the highest daily active user base around. The only downside is how they've failed to scale to accomidate the opportunity.
But maybe they are right to go slow as they have network lock in.
From my limited understanding - WhatsApp merely made free (or extremely cheap) texting possible, bypassing cellular providers who charged an arm and a leg for text messages. That's their contribution. Is there something else? What's this new paradigm of software development?
I am not a big fan of having my mobile number as my identity as I keep moving around and change my mobile when I get a better package. I wanted an app that assign me a unique id and I can share in that my current mobile number where people can call me in.
Just yesterday, I was looking at a phone running all the various IM apps and whatsapp was the lowest with 18mb, IMO was 40mb while facebook was 100+ mb. not sure if it was the messenger alone or facebook + messenger.
Facebook doesn't seems to be interested in improving whatsapp.
Its a huge 'about to be tapped' market by FB that many people (mostly those who dont use WA) have a tough time fathoming.
(The backstory is: Brian Acton was rejected from Facebook and Twitter in 2009)
Facebook sells information of its users. And yet people are happily feeding their data.
Even WhatsApp's founders were not happy with the Facebook's policy. For them it was a mistakes that they became a product of Facebook.
Yes, I've a problem with that. Don't you think its legit?