Telegram’s founder has warned the company will have to start charging for services to raise money.
The company’s founder, Pavel Durov, said in a statement reported by Channel News Asia that the company needed to raise “at least a few hundred million dollars per year” and planned to do so by offering paid-for services.
Durov didn’t stipulate what these paid-for extras will be, other than commenting that “we will be able to launch countless new features and welcome billions of new users”.
Telegram currently has around 500 million active users. The service includes features such as “self-destructing” messages, which on top of end-to-end encryption, make it both a boon for privacy seekers and a problem for law-enforcement agencies wanting to intercept messages.
The cross-platform service is currently free, but Durov’s comments suggest that he’s growing tired of picking up the tab. “For most of Telegram’s history, I paid for the expenses of the company from my personal savings,” he said.
“However, with its current growth Telegram is on track to reach billions of users and to require appropriate funding.”
Durov added that features that are currently free will remain free, meaning the company will have to find new features that will entice customers to pay.
The Telegram founder said he had no intention of selling the company, which was formed in 2013 and is the closest rival to the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.