Facebook Just Lost Another Oculus Cofounder

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Facebook Just Lost Another Oculus Cofounder
August 13, 2019
Mitchell was one of the last public faces of Oculus - Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

 

  • Oculus cofounder Nate Mitchell is leaving Facebook.
  • He's the latest cofounder of the virtual reality unit to leave Facebook since its acquisition in 2014.
  • Mitchell says he "decided to move on" and he's taking some time off.

 

Yet another cofounder of Oculus, the Facebook-owned virtual reality business unit, is leaving the company. In a post on Reddit on Tuesday, Nate Mitchell announced his departure from Facebook, saying he has "decided to move on." The Information first reported the news, shortly before Mitchell made his public post.

 

Over the past few years, founders of companies Facebook has acquired have steadily left the Silicon Valley tech giant — there are no cofounders of Instagram and WhatsApp, for example, still working at Facebook.

 

Mitchell said in his Reddit post that he's taking some time off: "I'm taking time to travel, be with family, and recharge. Of course, I'll still be part of this community, but I'll have a much smaller role to play."

 

The Information also cites an internal company memo, in which Mitchell wrote: "It was a difficult decision, but now feels like the right time for a change."

 

Oculus' cofounders include Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, Jack McCauley, Michael Antonov, and Nate Mitchell. It was founded in 2012, before being acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion. McCauley left in November 2015Luckey left in March 2017Iribe exited in October 2018,

 

Luckey left Facebook in 2017 after high-profile controversies related to his support of right-wing political campaigns and movements. Iribe, who had stepped down as CEO in 2016 to focus more on the Rift division of Oculus, left in October of last year, having handed his leadership roles over to Facebook executive Hugo Barra, who eventually also left Oculus to lead a broader VR and augmented reality initiative at Facebook earlier this year.

 

Up until today, Mitchell was one of only two founding members of Oculus remaining alongside Antonov, who seems to work more for Facebook than Oculus these days. (Sadly, another co-founder, Andrew Reisse, died in a traffic accident in 2013.)

 

Here is Mitchell’s farewell post in full:

Hey everyone — I have some bittersweet news to share with this community. After 7 incredible years, I’ve decided to move on from Oculus / Facebook.

When we posted the Kickstarter in 2012, VR was mostly the stuff of science fiction. We didn’t know if people would take us seriously. We weren’t even sure we’d hit our original $250k target. But this community from around the world came together and helped make VR a reality. Fast forward just a few years later, and VR is changing people’s lives every day. This is because of you.

Virtual reality is still on the bleeding edge of technology, and this community continues to pioneer the way forward. What’s ahead is always unknown, and that’s what makes it exciting. Stay bold and keep chasing the future.

What’s next for me: I’m taking time to travel, be with family, and recharge. Of course, I’ll still be part of this community, but I’ll have a much smaller role to play.

I expect the incredible team at Facebook to continue to surprise and delight us on this mission to build the next computing platform. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

To everyone here: Thank you for your passion and creativity. Thank you for believing in the impossible. Thank you for inspiring us everyday.

Thanks for 7 amazing years.

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