Telegram Reaches 900 Million Users, Eyes Profitability and IPO

In an interview with Financial Times, Telegram founder Pavel Durov revealed that with 900 million users and approaching profitability, his secretive messaging app is contemplating a potential IPO.


Durov disclosed that Telegram, based in Dubai, has witnessed exponential growth, becoming one of the world’s most popular social media platforms.

Introducing advertising and premium subscription services two years ago has propelled the company to generate “hundreds of millions of dollars” in revenue.

“We are hopeful to achieve profitability next year, if not sooner,” stated Durov, marking his first public interview since 2017. Despite receiving valuations exceeding $30 billion from investors, Durov emphasized Telegram’s commitment to independence, highlighting the value of an IPO in democratizing access to the company’s worth.

Initially known for its appeal to the cryptocurrency community, Telegram has transformed into a vital communication tool globally, attracting governments, officials, and citizens in conflict zones.

However, researchers caution about the platform’s lightly moderated nature, citing concerns about criminal activity, extremism, and misinformation.

Durov’s journey began with the co-founding of VKontakte, Russia’s leading social media network, before launching Telegram in 2013. Fleeing Russia amid disputes over user data privacy, Durov has navigated challenges, including selling his VK shares under pressure from Kremlin-affiliated individuals.

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As Telegram inches towards profitability, speculations arise about a potential US listing. The company has raised substantial debt financing, laying the groundwork for future financial maneuvers, including the possibility of converting debt into equity for IPO participants.

Innovations in revenue generation include advertising expansion, revenue-sharing initiatives for channel creators, and the introduction of business accounts. Despite criticisms of moderation policies, Durov asserts Telegram’s commitment to free expression while acknowledging plans to enhance moderation mechanisms.

With the 2024 US presidential elections on the horizon, Telegram aims to refine moderation processes and deploy AI-related solutions to address emerging challenges.

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