Global chat messenger giant WhatsApp lost yet another member of its founding team on Monday when Neeraj Arora, company’s chief business officer, announced his exit from the firm. He was hand-picked by co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton and was the fourth employee they hired. With this, WhatsApp has seen the exit of most of its core original team.
Differences between WhatsApp and Facebook over the way the firm was being run, issues around privacy, and the social media giant’s monetisation plans for the chat app have been some of the reasons behind the spate of exits over the past one and half years. Arora was instrumental in making the Indian user base swell from a few million to over 200 million in five years. “I’ve been blessed to work with a small set of talented people and see how maniacal focus can create something magical, which is loved by billions of people. It is time to move on but I cannot be more proud of how WhatsApp continues to touch people in so many different ways,” Arora said.
I am confident WhatsApp will continue to be the simple, secure, and trusted communication product for years to come,” Arora said in his Facebook post.
However, according to sources, the core WhatsApp team and Facebook have been at loggerheads for a long time. “Arora was last of the remaining team that built WhatsApp into what it is. He, the co-founders, and others in their team, had a different idea of the way they wanted to run the company but that got into a way of Facebook’s plans of monetising and doing things in a certain way. Now, it will find it easier to go ahead with its payments plans in India,” said a source.
WhatsApp now plans to launch its payments operations in India with a brand new team and a new man on top Abhijit Bose as head of WhatsApp India. Bose will build WhatsApp’s first full country team outside California and will be based in Gurugram.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp released the WhatsApp Business app for small business owners and the WhatsApp Business API to serve larger businesses that engage with customers at scale. The company claims that it has over a million users of these WhatsApp business products.
“WhatsApp is special and can be a major partner for financial inclusion and economic growth in India. WhatsApp can positively impact lives of hundreds of millions of Indians, allowing them to engage and benefit from the new digital economy,” said Bose. He joined WhatsApp from Ezetap, an electronic payments firm, where he has served as co-founder and CEO.