Communications Startup Symphony Raises Over $100M With Google As One Of Its Backers
Secure cloud-based communications platform Symphony revealed that it has raised over $100 million from a funding round that included Google as one of the company's backers.
Joining Google as investors in Symphony are existing investor Merus Capital, Natixis, Lakestart and Societe Generale UBS.
Symphony initially targeted to raise only $50 million, but due to great demand, the funding round raised double that amount, according to David Gurle, the CEO of Symphony.
"The market is volatile, and people are cautious right now, but in spite of those conditions, investors allowed us to get more money than we wanted," Gurle said, adding that the amount that the company was able to raise is a testament to what Symphony has been doing.
Gurle also suggested that the $100 million funding round could be the last instance that the company would have to resort to capital markets to source for investments, which is unusual for a startup that has launched only two funding rounds and is just over one year old.
In the first investment round held in the fall season of last year, Symphony was able to take in $66 million from a group of Wall Street investment banks. According to Gurle, this second round focuses on expanding beyond the financial services roots for Symphony.
Symphony started offering its services to financial services companies, where it set standards for security and compliance that would eventually be applied to all industries. Symphony's platform competed with other business communication tools such as Slack and Skype for Business by Microsoft.
According to Symphony, what sets it apart from other offerings in the market is the security it offers in its messaging tools, along with other useful features such as financial news content.
Google's investment in Symphony comes from the parent company itself, not Google Ventures. Google's struggles in social media has been well documented, with the relative failure of Google+, and that could be why the company is looking outward for investment opportunities in the space.
In addition to the possible competition against Microsoft's Skype, Symphony offers content tracking features that allow users to follow keywords and hashtags within the system and in public social media such as Twitter, which could have caught the eye of Google.
Symphony is planning to use the money that it raised for the expansions of its marketing and sales team. Previously, the company's focus was on its engineering division, with 100 of its current 130 employees in the unit. Symphony, overall, will be looking to double its employee head count over the next 12 months to 18 months, as it looks to expand its presence within Europe while opening up new offices in Australia and Japan in 2016.
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