Musical.ly North America President Alex Hofmann Leaves the Company

Andrew Toth/Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine 2017 Innovator Awards
Alex Hofmann of musical.ly attends the WSJ. Magazine 2017 Innovator Awards at MOMA on Nov. 1, 2017 in New York City.  

Alex Hofmann, who has spent the past three years at wildly popular lip sync app Musical.ly as the company's president of North America, announced today (Jan. 8) that he is leaving the company. His departure, described as amicable, arrives two months after the company was acquired by Chinese digital startup Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. in an $800 million deal.

In a statement posted on LinkedIn, Hofmann said the reason for his exit was to pursue future opportunities, citing the acquisition. He will remain an active shareholder in the company.

"I am excited about the next months to come, investing in startups, iterating on new business ideas and exploring Eastern Europe," Hofmann wrote. "Musical.ly was a dream come true. And now it is the time to dream of the next venture. After all, it always starts with a dream."

Musical.ly was launched in China three years ago by co-founders Louis Yang and Alex Zhu, and quickly grew to become one of the most in-demand apps on the market, racking up 200 million users and producing legitimate stars such as Jacob Sartorius, Baby Ariel and sisters Lisa and Lena who developed large followings for their 15-second music videos. The music industry and other media giants quickly got on board; in 2016, Musical.ly signed its first major-label licensing deal with Warner Music Group, and entered content deals with the likes of Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst for its live-streaming spinoff Live.ly. Last year, it partnered with Apple Music to allow Musical.ly users to stream songs via Apple Music within its app.

Read Hofmann's full letter below.

Goodbye, musical.ly. Off to new adventures. 

Today, I am announcing my departure from what has been a crazy, wild, turbulent journey, but most importantly the best 3 years of my life.

This really is a bittersweet moment for me, as I’ve built deep and meaningful relationships with my team, the creators and our valued partners. Our teamwork brought musical.ly to the #1 position in app charts across 21 countries and yielded millions of downloads. It has been a true  honor to serve as musical.ly’s President in the U.S. The experience has made me a stronger leader and further fueled my passion for building communities and growing extraordinary teams.

My decision to look ahead into future opportunities comes following our recent merger with Chinese Tech Giant, Bytedance. I will stay on as an active shareholder and advisor and am excited to watch the company continue to flourish.

I am excited about the next months to come, investing in startups, iterating on new business ideas and exploring Eastern Europe. musical.ly was a dream come true. And now it is the time to dream of the next venture. After all, it always starts with a dream. 

Let’s stay in touch,

Alex​