Riders on the IPO gravy train watch the Telegram ICO in dismay


A few months ago, entrepreneurs invited you into their Slack channel. That is so 2017. In 2018, any self respecting entrepreneur is inviting you into their Telegram channel.

“Slack killer” sounds a bit niche for a company looking to raise $1 billion – which looks more impressive like this in long form – $1,000,000,000. Telegram like to position as a Facebook killer. In that view, the ICO investors/entrepreneurs who hang out in Telegram are simply the early adopter market (like Harvard and Stamford for Facebook).

If Telegram raise $1 billion, that will put the ICO into serious IPO territory. ICO is no longer the junior market. The kid is growing up and challenging the parents.

Cue soundtrack = Blowing in the Wind – “your kids are beyond your command”.

No I am not a financial adviser. I don’t know if Telegram is a good investment. Do your own DD. What I do know is that the IPO market will never be the same after this.

IPO was the traditional graduation class for entrepreneurs and their investors.

So this matters a lot.

Following in the footsteps of the KIK ICO

In the closing days of the long hot summer of ICO, in early September 2017, we wrote Why the KIK ICO is the one to watch:

“KIK is one of many viable companies that would like IPO as an alternative to trade sale, but that are dammed up in front of a wall that excludes all but the most massive companies. KIK did a Pre ICO round that looks a lot like a Pre IPO round in ye olden days. That is a mega trend shift. Traditional exchanges and all who work in that ecosystem are facing disruption.”

So how did the KIK ICO work out? (Note: their currency is, confusingly, called KIN).

You can take a glass half full or a glass half empty view:

The glass half full view is represented by Tigger in this Techcrunch headline:

Kik raises nearly $100M in highest profile ICO to date.

The glass half empty view is represented by Eeyore in this Coindesk headline:

Kik ICO Raises $98 Million But Falls Short of Target

The market verdict (data courtesy of ICO Drops) has been kind at least in Fiat terms:

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 10.30.39

That market verdict clearly emboldened Telegram to “go big or go go home”. They 10x’d KIK’s puny $100m target. $100m used to be a respectable IPO. To put things in perspective, the Microsoft IPO in 1986 raised $61mm but then we had the multi billion raises:

Google $1.9bn

Facebook $16bn

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

This is a classic investor worry:

“We have been approached to invest in Telegram ICO…. but it was, like: you only have 2 hours to sign and wire us money…otherwise the deal is gone…. 

we did not feel comfortable”

Yet missing out could be bad news if it performs like a well run IPO and as of now that looks quite possible based on headlines such as this:

$850 million raised in ICO so far says Telegram

Exclusive: Telegram is holding a secretive second pre-ICO sale

The exact amount to be raised is still being determined, according to one source, but two other sources said Telegram is estimating it will be around the same size as the first round, which would bring the total raised to over $1.6 billion before the ICO even opens up to the general public. Telegram’s offering was already the largest ICO ever, dwarfing the previous record of $232 million.

Watch this space and watch one gravy train being derailed while a new one is built.

Image Source


  1. Bloomberg update: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-13/how-biggest-ico-wants-to-put-money-into-your-messages-quicktake
    How Telegram’s Crypto Coins May Attract $2.6 Billion. “Cryptocurrency ventures raised about $4 billion last year in initial coin offerings. It was a mad scramble of ICOs that saw companies with a mere scrap of an idea — and even some that had been formed as jokes — attract investors and the increasingly skeptical attention of regulators around the world. Now, Telegram Group Inc., the messaging service registered in the British Virgin Islands, is in the midst of the biggest ICO ever. It anticipates receiving $2.55 billion in three rounds of funding, according to documents seen by Bloomberg.”

    Holy Cow!!

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