Open Whisper Systems, the organization behind the privacy-focused messaging app Signal, announced on Wednesday the launch of the Signal Foundation, with an initial investment of $50 million from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton.
The Signal service is used by millions of people and the Signal protocol is used by billions through its integration into popular applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Allo.
Despite the success of its product, the Signal team has never had more than seven members and there have only been an average of 2.3 full-time developers.
With the launch of the Signal Foundation and the $50 million from Acton, Signal will have the resources necessary to expand and accelerate its mission to make private communications accessible to everyone.
“Starting with an initial $50,000,000 in funding, we can now increase the size of our team, our capacity, and our ambitions. This means reduced uncertainty on the path to sustainability, and the strengthening of our long-term goals and values,” said Moxie Marlinspike, founder of Open Whisper Systems and CEO of the Signal Foundation. “Perhaps most significantly, the addition of Brian brings an incredibly talented engineer and visionary with decades of experience building successful products to our team.”
The Signal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Up until now, the Freedom of the Press Foundation acted as a fiscal sponsor for Signal.
Acton, who left WhatsApp and Facebook last year, will serve as executive chairman of the Signal Foundation and will be actively involved in operations and product development.
“After over 20 years of working for some of the largest technology companies in the world, I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to build an organization at the intersection of technology and the nonprofit world,” said Acton.
“In the immediate future we are focused on adding to our talented-but-small team and improving Signal Messenger. Our long-term vision is for the Signal Foundation to provide multiple offerings that align with our core mission,” he added.