Abu Dhabi: Encrypted messaging app Telegram on Tuesday said it has raised $150 million from two key Abu Dhabi-based investors and will open a office here.
Mubadala Investment Company has invested $75 million in five-year pre-IPO convertible bonds of Telegram, with Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners investing a further $75 million.
The strategic partnership between the companies is expected to create new collaboration opportunities and 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.
"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," said Faris Sohail Faris Al Mazrui, Head of Mubadala's Russia and CIS Investment Programme.
Driven by a renewed surge in India amid WhatsApp privacy row, Telegram became the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide for January with more than 63 million installs, 3.8 times its downloads in the same month a year ago, according to data by app analytics firm Sensor Tower.
"We are honoured 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," said Durov, Founder and CEO of 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 Reliance Jio Platforms, to name just a few.