VKontakte founder Pavel Durov left Russia because “the country is incompatible with Internet business at the moment.” In an interview to TechCrunch, a popular high tech blog, Durov, who was dismissed from VK.com, plans to “start building a mobile social network this year”.
Durov is expected to build on his work with Telegram, a mobile messaging app that encrypts your private data safe.
Earlier, Russia-IC reported that Durov was dismissed as the company’s CEO. Durov blamed the owners for lacking the courage to break the news to him directly, saying he learned about his resignation from media reports.
Rumours over Durov’s departure ripened after he sold his 12 percent stake to “his friend Ivan Tavrin”. What is less known to outside observers is that Tavrin is CEO of MegaFon, which belongs to Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s richest billionaire, with a net worth of $17.6 billion, according to Forbes.ru.
The sale appears to mark an end to the shareholders’ squabbles, giving Usmanov, who already owned 39.9 percent, a clear advantage over United Capital Partners (UCP), an investment vehicle controlled by Ilya Shcherbovich.
As Russia-IC reported, UCP surprised investors when it acquired 48 percent of the social network from the other co-founders of VKontakte, Lev Leviev and Vyacheslav Mirilashvili, in April 2013.
Following the deal, Ilya Shcherbovich issued a series of critical statements over the way the ‘Russian Facebook’ had been run, blaming Durov.
Since then, rumours were abundant over Durov’s departure as CEO. Some members of his original team left, to be replaced by Usmanov’s protégés. Many believe the young millionaire is most likely to leave his brainchild to work at Telegram, a new startup he founded that seeks to ensure privacy and security of online communications.
With his resignation, the future of the most popular social network in Russia is up in the air. Currently worth between $2.5 and $4 billion, the company’s market value could take a serious plunge, at least for a while, and it doesn’t appear to be what the shareholders initially sought.
Author: Mikhail Vesely