FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

This startup which just raised $100million wants to give Bloomberg a run for its money

It hopes to liberate Wall Street from its terminal obsession.

Around mid-April, traders and investment managers across the global financial industry were paralyzed for a few hours when the Bloomberg data and communication network unexpectedly crashed. For decades, market participants rely solely on the Bloomberg terminal to communicate, but that is all about to change with the entry of messaging start-up Symphony.

Founded in October 2014, Goldman Sachs led a group of 14 banks including Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan Chase in investing US$66 million in a company called Perzo, Inc., a secure communication application that provided end-to-end encryption messaging, which was renamed to Symphony Communication Services LLC.

Symphony’s chat service was launched publicly in September and is designed to allow financial firms, corporate customers and individuals to put all of their digital communications on one centralized platform. The product is free for individuals and businesses with less than 50 users, but for small to medium-sized businesses with more than 50 users, the price for the service is $15 per user, per month.

David Gurle, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Symphony, noted that messaging is the nervous system of financial services and without communication they cannot do their business.

“Teams and organizations of all sizes require a messaging solution they can rely on to exchange critical information, while ensuring that they can meet security and regulatory requirements. With our unique approach to security and compliance, Symphony makes a major leap toward a safer and more productive method of communication and delivers a powerful workflow tool,” Gurle said.

The Symphony platform aims to deliver the following benefits:
- Improves one-to-one and one-to-many communications with a single workspace for collaborating effectively and securely with individuals and teams across geographies and organizational boundaries
- Simplifies workflow productivity by reducing the number of messaging systems needed for internal and external communications
- Protects information from cyber-threats with Symphony’s unique end-to-end security mechanism where encryption infrastructure is owned and operated by the customers
- Meets regulatory and compliance obligations with built-in features to support content export, expression filtering, information barrier enforcement and legal disclaimers
- Supports the creation of third-party applications and content feeds with Symphony’s open platform APIs

Aside from its chat service, Symphony is also teaming up with Dow Jones, a global provider of news and business information; McGraw Hill Financial’s S&P Capital IQ, a research and analytics provider; and Selerity, a provider of real-time content and analytics, to provide content to its platform.

“Content is critical to workflow productivity – whether it is generated in-house or sourced from trusted third-parties,” Gurle said. He noted that by furthering Symphony’s partner ecosystem, the company will be able to provide a complete workflow solution that combines cost-effective content, with collaboration and communication capabilities, which would make it easier for customers and their communities to access and share the information they need.

On October 12, the company announced that it has raised more than $100 million in new capital to accelerate global customer adoption. New investors include Silicon Valley’s behemoth Google, Inc., Lakestar, Natixis, Societe Generale, and UBS.

“This financing is a vote of confidence in Symphony’s value proposition and benefits to business users. We are making a major leap toward a safer and more productive method of communication for individuals, teams and businesses and we are delighted to have the support of our new and existing investors to enhance our market leadership,” Gurle said.

Report by Judy Dannibelle T. Chua Co







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