Following Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, I met Neeraj Arora, WhatsApp's head of business development at the Mobile World Congress, last week. Arora, an ISB graduate, had worked in M&A for many years before joining WhatsApp - first at Times Internet, then with Google India, before moving to Mountain View, USA, when Google moved most of its India M&A team to the valley, realizing there wasn't much in India to buy. He had joined WhatsApp three and a half years ago, after being involved with acquisition and investment deals for Google. At WhatsApp, Arora has been responsible for inking business deals with telecom operators for Whatsapp, and he spoke with us in detail about why WhatsApp chose Facebook, what will change at WhatsApp post the Facebook acquisition, how discussions with carriers might be impacted, WhatsApp's dealings in India and hiring plans. He reiterated that, post acquisition, 'Nothing will change'. Part 1 of the interview: MediaNama: What's not going to change? Arora: Everything will stay the same. The product, the product direction will stay the same. We're launching voice in Q2, and that is exciting. We still want to do a billion users as soon as possible. Users will come first. You will not see ads, like if you're thinking that Facebook has a different business model and this might get applied to WhatsApp, that will not happen. We keep our way of hiring, brand, office, and the end user should not see anything that we didn't plan for them.…
Part 1: WhatsApp’s Business Head Neeraj Arora on Carrier Deals & Voice, Biz Dev Plans, India, Payments
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