Encrypted messaging app Telegram is reportedly looking to go public.
Citing unnamed sources involved in the process, Russian news outlet Vedomosti broke the news on April 11. The timing is notable, given that at the end of March, Telegram’s founder and CEO Pavel Durov announced via his Telegram channel that the firm had sold $1 billion in bonds.
Resistant to the sale of user data and ad space, Telegram has long suffered from a lack of clear revenue flow. Durov, along with his brother Nikolai, first made their fortunes with Russian social media site VKontakte.
The Durov brothers used that money to make Telegram, which is designed to be resistant to the Russian government’s extensive firewalling and media censorship. This did not ingratiate the pair to the authorities. They ultimately left Russia but have kept up work on Telegram. Money, however, became a persistent issue.
Famously, Telegram ran afoul of the US Securities and Exchange Commission over its $1.7 billion initial coin offering for its GRAM tokens. Regarding the recent bond issuance, Durov said “the end goal for Telegram is to become a financially sustainable project that can serve humanity for decades (or centuries) to come.”
In December, Durov outlined some revenue-generating measures in his Telegram channel, noting the planned introduction of an “Ad Platform” that “is user-friendly, respects privacy and allows us to cover the costs of servers and traffic.”
Per Vedomosti, Telegram also seems to be looking at a direct listing, an increasingly popular mechanism among tech firms for public investment. The Vedomosti report also suggested that should Telegram go public, it may do so in Hong Kong rather than New York, due to its history with the SEC.