Symphony Secures $100M From Google And Other Investors
Symphony, the secure cloud-based communications platform, announced today that it has received $100 million round from a list of investors that includes Google, Inc.
Google’s part in the investment was first reported last week by the Wall Street Journal, but the search giant was also joined by Lakestar, Natixis, Societe Generale, UBS and existing investor Merus Capital.
The company actually went looking for $50 million, but the demand was so great, it ended up doubling its original request, Symphony CEO David Gurle told TechCrunch.
While the stock market has been erratic recently, and hasn’t always been kind to cloud services, investors apparently liked what they saw with 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,” he said. “It’s a testament to what we are doing,” he added.
Gurle suggested that this could be the last time Symphony has to dip into the capital markets for investment, which is fairly unusual for a company just two rounds into its investment lifecycle and just over a year old. While he joked nothing is certain but death and paying taxes, he said that is the plan right now.
“We are in a good position not to go back to capital markets. For the time being we are well-situated with cash and in a very privileged position,” he said.
Symphony scored $66 million in its original investment round in Fall, 2014 from a consortium of Wall Street investment banks. This round is about expanding beyond its financial services roots, Gurle said.
“We’ve always wanted to be the communication platform of choice for [all] business users,” Gurle said. By starting with financial services, it helped set a standard for compliance and security that should apply across all industries, he said.
Certainly, this is an interesting investment for Google, that comes from Google, Inc, rather than Google Ventures. It’s not exactly a secret that Google has had trouble with social and Google + seems to be the forgotten step child these days.
Google could be looking outwardly, and Symphony not only offers a secure communications tool that could help compete with Microsoft’s Skype/Lync, it also has some intriguing content tracking abilities, letting you follow hashtags and keywords both inside the system and in public social networks like Twitter that could be attractive to Google.
The company plans to use the money to expand its sales and marketing arm. Up to this point, it’s been heavily weighted toward engineering with 100 of its 130 employees in engineering today. While the company will add to that, it plans to double the number of employees over the next 12-18 months with the vast majority in sales and marketing, Gurle said.
That involves expanding its presence in Europe and opening new offices in Japan and Australia next year. The company could also look at an acquisition or two if that makes sense and it plans to leave a good chunk in the bank as a hedge against a possible market slow-down.
The product is actually available for free for anyone to use, but to get the enterprise-level security capability, it requires buying the enterprise version tool.