While you slept, Facebook dropped $19 billion for WhatsApp.
A spectacular milestone for Jan Koum, Brian Acton & the remarkable @WhatsApp team. We couldn’t be more proud pic.twitter.com/o7OeaSnbXw
— jim goetz (@jimgoetz) February 19, 2014
Five things to note –
1. 19 billion is a lot of money
Just how much is it though? Well it can buy 26 and half Instagrams, calculated to the final sale price of $715 million that Facebook eventually paid for the photo sharing service. Or 6.3 Snapchats. Or Nokia twice over. Heck you could pick up six Motorolas at the price Lenovo scooped it from Google with lots of change left over.
For better or worse, we are going be to measuring the value of things in WhatsApps now.
2. Biggest acquisition of a venture-backed company to date
According to the WSJ, only West Media’s $11bn purchase of Continental Cablevision comes close. The failed $6 billion deal for Groupon would have been the third largest ever. Whatsapp’s lone investor, Sequioa Capital, just won the lottery.
3. WhatsApp is the new SMS
At the rate the red hot messaging company is going (450 monthly active users, adding 1 million users a day) people will soon be sending as many WhatsApps as SMS. Facebook’s statement announcing the deal observes that the number of missives that criss-cross the app’s service is approaching the SMS volume of the entire global telecoms industry. Wowzer.
WhatsApp message volume growth is still accelerating. Has probably now overtaken SMS. pic.twitter.com/KsR85Mplrt
— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) January 20, 2014
See that graph? WhatsApp is clearly the new beat. Tomi Ahonen needs to stop doing the SMS dance.
4. You are worth $50
Facebook’s acquisition values each WhatsApp user — you, me, and your high school not-BFF who somehow managed to acquire your phone number — at $50. For context Rakuten picked up each of Viber’s 300 million users at $3 each in its recent $900 million purchase deal.
5. From jobs board to boardroom
In 2009, Brian Acton was hanging around Facebook (and Twitter) jobs boards. Getting turned down by both companies was for the best, obviously. Less than five years later, Jan Koum with whom he co-founded WhatsApp now has a seat in Facebook’s boardroom. At a 19 billion exit that makes them both billionaires, they’ve done probably just as well as any Facebook’s first employees. As we say in Nigeria, no condition is permanent.
There you have it. Brace yourselves — the pivots are coming.
And that is the sound of every startup in the Valley pivoting to messaging.
— Startup L. Jackson (@StartupLJackson) February 19, 2014