Creating new perspectives since 2009

UAE invests $150m in Telegram messaging app

March 24, 2021 at 4:01 pm

The logo of instant messaging platform “Telegram” is displayed on a smartphone in Ankara, Turkey on August 7, 2020 [Ali Balıkçı/Anadolu Agency]

Mubadala Investment Company and Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners yesterday announced that they had invested $150 million in the mobile messaging application Telegram.

Reuters reported that the investment would be in the form of five-year pre-initial public offering (IPO) bonds, noting that it was shared “equally” between the two venture capitalists. Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners is jointly owned by Mubadala and the New York-based Falcon Edge Capital.

“We are honoured by the $150m investment into Telegram from Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners,” Telegram’s CEO, Pavel Durov, told reporters, adding that he was planning “to continue our growth in the Middle East and North Africa region and globally.”

He explained that the funds would be used to “roll out expansion plans as well as drive its monetization strategy, which includes premium plans for business users.”

OPINION: Turkey is leading the way in the fight against big tech dictatorship

On his part, the Chief Operating Officer of Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, James Munce, said that the increase of 500 million monthly active users on Telegram was demonstrating a “strong value proposition and will be a focal point for social media platforms and a new era of messaging.”

“Telegram’s user base has reached a critical mass that places it amongst global tech giants,” Mubadala executive director, Faris Sohail Faris Al-Mazrui, pointed out.

Founded in 2013 by Russian-born Durov and his brother, Nikolai, Telegram currently has more than 500 million active users. The company, along with messaging app Signal, have seen an increase in users this year amid global privacy concerns with larger rival Facebook-owned WhatsApp.