WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton announced he is set to leave the messaging company, eight years after starting the business with current CEO Jan Koum.

Acton departs to create a not for profit organisation related to technology and communications, though specific details of the project are still under wraps.

WhatsApp, acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in 2014, was founded by former Yahoo! employees Koum and Acton in 2009. It has since grown to become one of the largest messaging platforms in the world with over 1 billion daily users in 180 countries, according to its own figures.

In a statement published on his Facebook page, Acton said: “After eight years at WhatsApp, I have decided to move on and start a new chapter in my life.”

“I am very fortunate at my age to have the flexibility to take new risks and focus on what I’m passionate about. It’s something I’ve thought about for a while, and now it’s time to just focus and execute. I’ll have more to share in the coming months.”

“This decision is, of course, a tough one. I’m proud of what our team has accomplished in only a few years, and it’s humbling to see that so many people rely on WhatsApp every day.”