WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced early this week that he is leaving Facebook to focus on other endeavours. The announcement came just a day ahead of F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference in California. Jan Koum’s exit comes after Brian Acton, another co-founder of the messaging startup had left the company to work for the Signal foundation.
The media reports suggest Koum decided to leave the startup he co-founded after Facebook suggested compromise to its encryption layer. Koum has been one of the strongest advocate of encryption, which guards companies and government authorities from reading your communication on the platform. Facebook, however, is said to be planning to bring more advertisers on the platform and expand its business tools and open up user data in order to enable rich experience.
Analysts say Jan Koum’s departure will lead to arrival of ads on WhatsApp, which Facebook bought in 2014 for record $19 billion. In a Facebook post, Koum said that he is leaving to focus outside of technology and collect rare air-cooled Porsches and play ultimate frisbee. Koum’s exit has led to two big questions – 1) Who will lead WhatsApp after him and 2) Who will protect WhatsApp from Facebook’s pro-ad strategy?
While we don’t really know Facebook’s plan for future of WhatsApp, CEO Mark Zuckerberg did say that he will support encryption on WhatsApp at F8 early this week. But the first question seems to have an answer – Neeraj Arora. Arora describes himself as the business guy at WhatsApp on his LinkedIn profile and was recently in the news after he decided to leave Paytm’s board citing conflict of interest. His announcement came after Paytm raised questions about WhatsApp Payments. Here is everything you need to know about Neeraj Arora:
According to his LinkedIn profile, Neeraj Arora has a B.Tech degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Delhi and MBA from Indian School of Business. His accomplishments include two patents related to methods and systems for email attachment distribution and management and email integrated file delivery.
He started as career as a program manager at Accellion Ic in 2000, where he was one of the earliest engineers building pieces of the core technology. He calls himself the self learnt hacker. After nearly 5 years at Accellion, Arora joined Times Internet Limited as Chief Manager as part of the investments and corporate strategy team at Indiatimes.
After a year and a half at Indiatimes, he joined Google as the Corporate Development Manager with focus on identifying and executing acquisitions and strategic investments across products. He was later promoted to Principal, Corporate Development at Google.
Arora joined WhatsApp in November 2011 ater four years at Google executing investments and acquisitions including Zagat, Dailydeal, Slide, Talkbin and others. In June of 2015, Arora was appointed to the board of Paytm and departed from his position in February 2018. He has been at the helm of the messaging startup for more than six years now and his business knowledge serves as its biggest asset.