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6 things we learned from the founder of Telegram's first interview in 7 years

Grace Eliza Goodwin   

6 things we learned from the founder of Telegram's first interview in 7 years
  • What's next for Telegram? Founder Pavel Durov said profitability is coming, and maybe even an IPO.
  • Durov gave his first public interview in seven years to the Financial Times.

In a rare new interview, Telegram founder Pavel Durov revealed that his company is nearing profitability, and may even enter the public market.

The Russian-born founder of the encrypted messaging app, who's been called the "Mark Zuckerberg of Russia," spoke with the Financial Times in an article published Monday.

It's the reclusive founder's first public interview since 2017, according to the outlet. Durov, who was forced to flee Russia in 2014, currently operates the company out of Dubai.

Here are six key takeaways Durov divulged about his Dubai-based social media app.

Durov is considering taking Telegram public

The 39-year-old billionaire who has full ownership of Telegram, told the Financial Times that he's exploring options to file an initial public offering (IPO) for Telegram.

"Generally speaking, we see value in [an IPO] as a means to democratize access to Telegram's value," Durov told the outlet.

Durov added that he would consider allocating a percentage of stock for loyal users, an unusual move that fellow social media app Reddit announced it would do ahead of its own expected March IPO filing.

Durov did not say when or where he might file the IPO, according to the Times.

Telegram's user base has dramatically increased

Durov told the Financial Times the messaging app now has 900 million monthly active users.

That's nearly double the 500 million he said in a Telegram post it had at the beginning of 2021.

Telegram may soon become profitable

Since creating a paid subscription option and introducing advertising on the app two years ago, Durov told the Times that Telegram has made "hundreds of millions of dollars" in revenue.

And that could soon pay off for the company in the next year or so.

"We are hoping to become profitable next year, if not this year," Durov told the Financial Times.

Durov is not ready to sell, despite offers

Even though wannabe investors, including "global late-stage tech funds" have offered "$30 billion-plus valuations" for Telegram, Durov told the Times he won't be selling his platform, at least while he considers all his IPO options.

"The main reason why we started to monetize is because we wanted to remain independent," Durov told the outlet.

Telegram may develop an AI chatbot

Durov said his company may consider raising funds to pay for its artificial intelligence ambitions and has even explored the possibility of creating an AI-powered chatbot.

Telegram could be the next way to meet that special someone

Durov said starting this month, Telegram will begin sharing its marketing revenue with creators who run the platform's channels.

And, users will soon be able to create business accounts on the app, he told the Times.

Telegram is also adding a "social discovery" feature to the app that would help users connect with, and even date, people in their area, Durov told the Times.

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