Google along with others invest $100m in Goldman Sachs-backed Symphony
Symphony was actually seeking to raise only $50m, but it managed to double the amount due to demand in the secure communications segmentReuters

Cloud-based messaging start-up, Symphony Communication Services, in a new round of funding has raised more than $100m (£65.3m,€88m). Those who invested in the firm include Google, UBS, Société Générale, Lakestar, Natixis among others.

Apart from new investors, existing backers such as Merus Capital also participated in the recent funding. Symphony is now valued at $650m, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The messaging start-up, in a statement said, capital raised from this new round would be used to "accelerate global customer adoption". Further, founder David Gurle stated that the funds will be used primarily to expand its sales and marketing division.

Currently 100 of its 130 employees work in the engineering division. Though it would add more engineers, overall it would double its headcount in the next 12-18 months and a majority of employees would join its sales division, Gurle added.

The company has plans to acquire a couple of firms and "organically enter Europe". It also wants to open offices in Japan and Australia next year. However, Gurle is cautious and wants to leave a large chunk of the funds as a hedge, to counter a possible market slowdown.

Moreover, the investment for Google is not a part of its capital investment arm that funds start-ups, but Alphabet Inc's Google unit which has had troubles in its social media division. Through this investment it could make use of Symphony's secure communications tool to compete with Microsoft's Skype. Also, the start-up's content tracking abilities that allow users to follow hashtags and keywords, similar to Twitter, could be an attractive option for Google.

Previously, the search engine giant was in talks with Symphony, for a potential takeover.

The start-up was seeking to raise only $50m, but it eventually doubled the amount because of the high demand in the secure communications segment. "This financing is a vote of confidence in Symphony's value proposition," Gurle said and added, "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."

In October 2014, when Symphony was set up, it received an investment of $66m from 14 banks including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock and JP Morgan Chase.