Source: Emirates News Agency, Rasha Abubaker, Binsal AbdulKader
Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign investor, has invested US$75 million in 5-year pre-IPO convertible bonds of Telegram, an operator of the self-named security-focused social media platform, with Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners investing a further US$75 million.
The strategic partnership between the companies is also expected to create new collaboration opportunities and thereby further advance Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem of innovative and tech-enabled companies.
Launched in 2013 by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov as a secure messaging app utilising end-to-end encryption, Telegram evolved into a fully-fledged social media platform and has its global headquarters in the UAE. It has become one of the 10 most downloaded apps in the world with over 500 million monthly active users.
Faris Sohail Faris Al Mazrui, Head of Mubadala’s Russia and CIS Investment Programme, said, "We recognise and admire Pavel's vision for the company and the team’s execution in building an exceptional product and company. His unwavering focus on user experience and privacy, and how it is central to every business decision he makes, is one of the keys to Telegram's popularity and success. Telegram's user base has reached a critical mass that places it amongst global tech giants.
"We believe that Telegram is well-positioned for an inflection point that will transform it into a leading global technology company. The company represents a very promising investment opportunity for Mubadala and will sit well within our wider portfolio of pioneering companies looking to transform their respective industries. Our investment in Telegram establishes a strategic partnership for us to further strengthen Abu Dhabi's technology ecosystem as well as bring new levels of tech skills and talent to the capital."
Pavel Durov, Founder and CEO of Telegram, added, "We are honored by the US$150 million investment into Telegram from Mubadala and Abu Dubai Catalyst Partners. We look forward to developing this strategic partnership to continue our growth in the MENA region and globally."
James Munce, CFO and COO of Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, said, "Over the past 7 years, Telegram usage has grown from zero to 500 million monthly active users. This demonstrates the management team’s unshakeable dedication to building a platform centred around privacy and user experience. We believe this creates a strong value proposition and will be a focal point for social media platforms and a new era of messaging.
"ADCP strives to partner with businesses that demonstrate strong growth trajectories globally, and that can bolster an evolving technology ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the ADGM. We aim to use our resources to work hand-in-hand with management teams towards catalysing leading platforms in different industries at the cutting edge. We see a very attractive opportunity to do this with Telegram."
In recent years, Mubadala has been expanding its focus on the technology sector through a strategy of direct and fund-of-fund investing from early-stage venture capital to growth. Over the past 12 months, it has made a number of global technology investments in category leaders including the autonomous driving technology company Waymo, AliExpress and Jio Platforms, to name just a few.