Messaging platform Symphony opening S'pore office

Mr Gurle, chief executive officer of Symphony, says the firm will use Singapore as a launch pad to grow its Asian business.
Mr Gurle, chief executive officer of Symphony, says the firm will use Singapore as a launch pad to grow its Asian business.

Enterprise messaging platform Symphony is opening a Singapore office and plans to ramp up growth in the region, chief executive officer David Gurle has told The Straits Times.

Mr Gurle will also be relocating from Silicon Valley to Singapore for at least a year in order to develop the business in Asia. The company is already in "advanced discussions" with potential customers here, he said.

Symphony is a secure, cloud-based communications platform which aims to improve productivity and data security in financial institutions.

Founded in October 2014 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company also has offices in New York, Hong Kong and London.

It has raised US$170 million (S$242 million) from major financial institutions and investors, many of them also its customers. These include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Citadel, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Google, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Jefferies, Lakestar, Maverick, Merus Capital, Morgan Stanley, Natixis, Nomura, Societe Generale, UBS and Wells Fargo.

The platform allows third parties to integrate applications into Symphony. It also has functionalities beyond messaging, such as allowing users to launch real-time interactions with voice, video and screen-sharing inside chatrooms.

It has roughly 116,000 total users and counts more than 100 financial organisations, including almost every major bank, as a customer.

The company's focus is on financial services firms but it also has customers in the healthcare, insurance and legal industries.

Symphony has been seen as a competitor to Bloomberg's real-time data and news terminals, but Mr Gurle said the company does not play in the same space.

Instead, "we are competing against e-mail use, and messaging tools like WhatsApp and Telegram. Think about us as WeChat for enterprise".

About half of its user base is in the United States, said Mr Gurle. Another 40 per cent is in Europe and 10 per cent in Asia.

Symphony sees strong growth prospects in Asia and will use Singapore as a platform to expand regionally, he said.

In particular, it is looking to grow its business in China, Japan and Australia.

Potential customers include regional financial institutions such as banks, asset managers and private wealth managers.

Chia Yan Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2016, with the headline 'Messaging platform Symphony opening S'pore office'. Print Edition | Subscribe