Goldman-backed chat platform Symphony raises $165 million in new funds

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Symphony Communication Services, a chat and collaboration platform, said on Wednesday it has raised $165 million in fresh funds and added Mitsubishi UFJ Financial’s venture fund and Standard Chartered as investors.

U.S.-based Symphony plans to use the funds to grow its workflow automation business, increase its sales presence in Asia and make acquisitions, David Gurle, its founder and CEO, told Reuters over the phone in Singapore.

Symphony was created in 2014 when a group of financial institutions led by Goldman Sachs came together in a joint effort to reduce the cost of market data and communications between staff and with customers.

Gurle said Symphony will consider acquisitions in areas that include artificial intelligence or which could enable users to share content such as market commentary and trade ideas.

The company, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, is valued at $1.4 billion after the latest funding round, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

In a statement, loss-making Symphony said it has raised more than $460 million in capital so far from financial services firms, global venture capital funds, and technology companies, including Google parent Alphabet Inc. It has more than 430,000 licensed users, growing from the 200,000 users that company said it had in 2017.

Gurle said that the pace of the growth was accelerating 5-10 percentage points each year.

Its competitor, San Francisco-based Slack Technologies, is planning to go public via a direct listing on June 20.

When asked about Symphony’s listing plans, Gurle said considering going public was too premature. He said the company was “reasonably targeting profitability” around 2021 or 2022.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman