Symphony, a secure enterprise messaging provider backed by a consortium of banks led by Goldman Sachs has launched as a beta version to early customers. Led by Goldman Sachs, the consortium made headlines last September when it was released that they had made a $66 million investment in the secure messaging firm.
The investment occurs as messaging platforms have become one of the hottest markets, with consumer facing firms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and SnapChat having garnered multi-billion dollar valuations. Similarly, business messaging and productivity tool providers like Slack and HipChat have been able to grab large swaths of enterprise users by improving the way employees interact with each other online.
In the case of Symphony, the firm provides enterprise users the ability to use their software to create a secure internal messaging network, as well as connect with external users. The cross-firm connectivity is a key aspect as the product is being viewed as a competitor to Bloomberg’s messaging platform which is one of the most used feature of its financial terminals. By partnering with a large consortium of banks, Symphony brings to the table a vibrant network of financial users which can be leveraged to attract other firms to connect to the platform as an alternative to Bloomberg.
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After a private alpha period, Symphony has recently launched its beta version to enterprise customers. According to the firm, the product now provides 80% of expected core functionality. Despite previously limited to its alpha version, the product has gained traction from its initial set of users, with Symphony stating that over 50,000 financial industry professionals are connected on the platform, with daily messages of over 2 million.
The beta launch takes place as the Bloomberg Terminal experienced one of its worst outages last month, leaving many traders unable to analyze the market or enter transactions. Despite the outage, industry consensus is that Bloomberg’s technology is considered a very reliable, but it has provided an opportunity for competitors to gain a more accepting audience for their wares.
While initially launching with messaging, Symphony has also been reported to be working on an unbundled version of selling financial data. With that product, users will only be charged for services they use, in contrast to the bundled terminal models of Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and Capital IQ.