According to a Monday report, secure messaging startup Symphony gets $100 million from Google and others. The money was awarded during a new round of funding initiated by one of Wall Street’s most trusted cloud-based chat services.
Though the startup requested $50 million this round, Google, two French investment banks – Natixis and Société Générale –, Lakestar, UBS, and Merus Capital offered double the sum. The startup is now valued at $650 million.
The chat service offered by the company is a more secure version of a messaging app that allows traders, banks, financial firms, corporate and private customers communicate on a common platform. Participants in a discussion can either chat in a group or individually. They can add hashtags and issue alerts for their peers.
Symphony emerged as an alternative to more costly messaging services used by brokers and investment managers on Wall Street. For instance, services offered by Bloomberg are very expensive since each of its terminals sell for $25,000 a piece.
Symphony has many features in common with Slack, the real-time messaging app that took Silicon Valley by storm and promised to kill e-mail. In some tech firms, Slack became a requirement when applying for an open position.
Symphony was founded three years ago. It original name was Perzo, but as the messaging service became more popular among investors and traders it changed its name. In about one year, the company received funds from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and BlackRock, which pumped more than $65 million into the startup.
Google however is a new entry among those interested in Symphony because it is the single tech company to support the firm. According to undisclosed sources, Google’s CFO Ruth Porat was in talks with big Wall Street bankers before the investment was made.
Porat has ties with Wallstreet since she was the CFO of Morgan Stanley. But it isn’t the first time Google tries to bring diversity to its portfolio. This year it announced major investments in Slack and the taxi app firm UBER.
Because Symphony caters for big financial firms security is a key element. In August, the New York State Department of Financial Services agreed to financial institutions’ request to use the app as long as bankers keep backup copies of all their conversations for seven years.
Symphony now boasts 10 million users worldwide. Among its high-profile customers are Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. The startup pledged to add news and research to its app.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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