Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell said on Tuesday that he’s leaving Facebook, five years after the social network bought the virtual reality headset company. He was serving as Facebook’s head of VR product.
In a post shared on Reddit, Mitchell said it was “bittersweet” to leave Facebook and Oculus after seven years between the two companies. He said that he plans to “travel, be with family, and recharge,” while still remaining a part of the VR community in a “smaller role.”
“Virtual reality is still on the bleeding edge of technology, and this community continues to pioneer the way forward,” Mitchell wrote. “What’s ahead is always unknown, and that’s what makes it exciting. Stay bold and keep chasing the future.”
Andrew Bosworth, head of Facebook’s VR and augmented reality team, tweeted he was “sad to see” Mitchell leave. “I enjoyed working with you and learning from you. Best of luck on whatever comes next.”
Mitchell’s departure comes after Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe left Facebook in the last two years. Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion — only two years after the company launched with a Kickstarter campaign. As Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier pointed out, Mitchell was the last founder who remained from Facebook acquisitions WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus to leave the social media company.
While VR headset sales increased 30% last year from 2017, hitting $3.6 billion in revenue, the niche industry is still struggling to gain widespread appeal. Oculus, between its Go and Rift headsets last year, sold about 700,000 units, according to VentureBeat. Facebook unveiled the Oculus Rift S, its latest PC-tethered VR headset that runs $399, earlier this year.