Signal is getting a boost from a billionaire tech founder with a history of bringing secure messaging to the masses. Brian Acton, the cofounder of the popular messaging app WhatsApp, is investing $50 million in Signal and will work with the newly-formed Signal Foundation, Signal creator Moxie Marlinspike announced on Wednesday.
“Our plan is to pioneer a new model of technology nonprofit focused on privacy and data protection for everyone, everywhere,” Acton said in a blog post. Acton left WhatsApp and parent company Facebook in September of last year. Facebook acquired his company in 2014 for $19 billion.
Signal is highly recommended by security experts and has become a popular encrypted messaging application as people are increasingly concerned with protecting messages from prying eyes.
The app uses end-to-end encryption, meaning only the sender and recipient can read the messages. It prevents third parties from intercepting your texts. Signal also provides a solution for other companies to build secure communications into their apps.
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger both use Signal code to encrypt their applications. Marlinspike said in the blog post that Signal has never taken venture capital funding or outside investment, and has consistently operated with just two to three full-time software developers.
With the new cash injection, Signal will be able to staff up and provide better experiences for its users, he said. Acton will join the Signal Foundation as the executive chairman, working in operations and product development.
The foundation will operate as a nonprofit with a goal of making private and secure messaging more ubiquitous and useful, according to the blog post.