Looking to double WhatsApp user base to a billion in one year: Neeraj Arora

WhatsApp is focused on increasing its active user base from the current 500 million to one billion in a year, Indian-American executive Neeraj Arora has said noting that nothing has changed after the $19-billion acquisition by Facebook.


“Nothing has changed for us (after acquisition by Facebook),” Arora, business development head of WhatsApp, told a visiting group of Indian entrepreneurs as part of a Nasscom initiative to promote startups in India. WhatsApp, he said, is now focused on increasing its population of active users from 500 million to one billion in one year.


“And that too without even touching at the money, which has been parked in a bank for future use and not for the mobile messaging service,” he said.


“We hardly do press. We have spent zero dollars so far in marketing,” he said indicating that such things are distractions.


“When you do not have to those things, then you focus on bringing more users to your platform,” Arora said.


Responding to a question, Arora said that the $19 billion raised through Facebook is being kept in the bank.


“It is more for insurance purposes. If you have to do certain things, you want to make certain changes, invest in something, we should have the money and have the leverage to take the bets,” Arora said in response to a question.


“But we never thought that we will use this money for operation. We are very disciplined from day one. We thought we are not a typical Silicon Valley company,” he asserted.


An engineer from IIT Delhi and MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, Arora worked with Times Internet and Google in India before joining WhatsApp.


Sharing his experience with this mobile messaging app, Arora said WhatsApp decided against having username and password and identified its users with their phone number.


“That was one of the biggest reasons, why it got picked up so fast,” he said, adding that the focus of his company is to provide the best user-friendly product to the people.


When asked about the acquisition by Facebook, he said the owners of WhatsApp never wanted to sell the company, and when the talks started, the deal happened in less than a week.



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