Messaging platform Symphony raises US$165m from StanChart, MUFJ, Wall Street banks

Messaging platform Symphony raises US$165m from StanChart, MUFJ, Wall Street banks

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2 -min read
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SYMPHONY Communication Services, a messaging platform backed and used by Wall Street banks, on Wednesday said it has raised US$165 million in new capital as part of its Series E funding round to bolster growth in Asia.

Standard Chartered and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group were added to the existing stable of investors that include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse Group and Morgan Stanley. In a statement, Michael Elanjian, head of digital strategy and fintech, Corporate and Investment Bank, JPMorgan, said the bank has repeated its support for Symphony, with the platform driving "meaningful transformation" in the industry.

The latest funding brings its total capital raised to date by Symphony to more than US$460 million.

The platform allows for secure and compliant messaging in the office and on-the-go among traders, and creates automated workflows for banks. Its messaging system has, in part, been billed as a competitor to the system offered by Bloomberg due to its pricing. 

Symphony's basic communications service starts at US$20 monthly for enterprise clients, a fraction of the thousands of dollars that banks are charged by Bloomberg for access to chat tools bundled with stock price information and news.

David Gurlé, founder and CEO of Symphony, told The Business Times that the startup aims to be profitable by 2022, and has hit US$50 million in annual recurring revenue. 

Currently, 32 per cent of its users are based in Asia; in late-2016, just 10 per cent of its users came from this region.

Within four-and-a-half years since its founding, Symphony now has more than 430,000 licensed users from over 60 countries.

In a statement, Alex Manson, global head of SC Ventures, Standard Chartered, said the strategic investment in Symphony "will provide the bank with greater insights into future trends in the enterprise communication and workflow collaboration space".

"Furthermore, Standard Chartered offers Symphony growth opportunities in our footprint markets across Asia, Africa and the Middle East," he added.

Nobutake Suzuki, president and CEO, MUFG Innovation Partners, said forming "agile partnerships" with companies such as Symphony "helps us remain a partner of choice in a changing world".