Telegram app Photograph:( Reuters )
Mubadala invested $75 million in five-year, pre-initial public offering (IPO) bonds of Telegram, while Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners invested a further $75 million
Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Co and Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, part-owned by Mubadala, said on Tuesday they had invested a combined $150 million in messaging app Telegram.
Mubadala invested $75 million in five-year, pre-initial public offering (IPO) bonds of Telegram, while Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners invested a further $75 million.
"Telegram's user base has reached a critical mass that places it amongst global tech giants," Mubadala executive Faris Sohail Faris al-Mazrui said in a statement.
"Telegram is well-positioned for an inflexion point that will transform it into a leading global technology company."
Telegram, already headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, will open an office in Abu Dhabi following the new investment, Mubadala said.
Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners is a Mubadala joint venture with U.S. investment company Falcon Edge Capital.
Mubadala, which manages more than $230 billion in assets, is UAE's second-biggest state investor after Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
Both have invested in technology, with Mubadala contributing $15 billion to SoftBank's $100 billion Vision Fund in 2017.
Mubadala last year bought a 1.85 per cent stake in Reliance Industries' digital unit, Jio Platforms, for $1.2 billion.
Telegram, along with messaging app Signal, have seen an increase in users this year amid privacy concerns with larger rival Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
The encrypted messaging app's Russia-born founder Pavel Durov said on his Telegram channel Tuesday that the app had over 500 million monthly active users in the first weeks of January.
Telegram is a popular social media platform in a number of countries, particularly in the former Soviet Union and Iran, and is used both for private communications and sharing information and news.
Durov said Telegram has become a "refuge" for those seeking a private and secure communications platform and assured new users that his team "takes this responsibility very seriously."
Telegram was founded in 2013 by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who also founded Russia's social media network VKontakte.