Oculus co-founder’s exit is latest in string of Facebook departures – CNET

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Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell

James Martin/CNET

Facebook can’t seem to hold onto the founders of the companies it acquires.

The latest departure: Nate Mitchell, co-founder of the virtual reality startup Oculus, which launched in 2012 and was bought by Facebook in 2014. Mitchell, the last Oculus co-founder still at Facebook, said Tuesday that he was stepping down.

“Virtual reality is still on the bleeding edge of technology, and this community continues to pioneer the way forward,” he wrote in a post on Reddit. “What’s ahead is always unknown, and that’s what makes it exciting.”

Mitchell was the head of virtual reality products at Facebook, which purchased Oculus for $3 billion. The Oculus team at Facebook has grappled with a number of woes, including a lawsuit and executive turnover, as it tries to make virtual reality more mainstream. Facebook bought Oculus because it envisions a future in which Facebookers will be able to share moments with their friends and family as if they’re all together in person. 

Co-founders at other companies Facebook purchased have also left the social media giant in recent years. That list includes Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, WhatApp’s Brian Acton and Jan Koum and Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey. The Instagram co-founders reportedly clashed with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Mitchell said he’ll be spending time with family and taking time to travel. His departure also comes before Oculus Connect 6, a virtual reality developer conference that kicks off in San Jose, California, at the end of September.

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