BEST INVESTMENT EVER: Where Are The Five Mysterious Former Yahoo Employees Who Invested Seed Money In WhatsApp?

As the tech media processes any mega-acquisition, one of the more popular Internet guessing games is speculating how much various investors and employees are worth. For Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp — the largest purchase in startup history — the numbers are all fairly public, except for five…crucial…investors…who may have cashed in a combined $800 million.

StartupBook_Whatsapp Exit Chart

The table above breaks down all the known equity-holders in WhatsApp. Note, calculations were made using $16 billion as $3B of the $19B is in form of restricted stock that could be paid out over four years. From the top:

a) According to Forbes, co-founder Jan Kuom — who originally launched WhatsApp as a way for people to connect status updates with their phone numbers — is believed to have a majority 45% stake in the company, landing him a hefty $7.2 billion payday with the acquisition.

b) Together, Kuom and Acton own at least 60% of the company, putting our best estimate for Acton’s equity at 20%.

c) Sequoia Capital will reportedly reap about $3.5 billion from the acquisition — also putting their equity at about 20%.
d) 10% of equity is distributed amongst the startup’s 55 employees.

e) The question mark.. In October 2009, Acton persuaded five of his former Yahoo peers to invest a total of $250,000 in seed funding, and officially became WhatsApp’s ‘co-founder’ in the process. We have no reason to believe that the Yahoo investors tried to cash out before Facebook’s acquisition.

So just who the heck are these five Yahoo veterans? And assuming they each own a 1% stake in WhatsApp, how do they plan on spending their nice little gift package of $160 million each?

If you have information about the identities of the ‘Yahoo Five’ shoot us an e-mail at – or if you happen to be one of them, we can meet up for an interview over drinks at your expense. :)