Ever since it became apparent that bankers were using chat rooms and instant messaging for things other than business-like communication with clients and conversations about their weekends, banks have been clamping down. J.P. Morgan, Citi and Goldman Sachs were all said to make instant messaging services out of bounds to some of their traders in the wake of the LIBOR and FX fixing scandals. In turn, banks have been seeking to develop new, compliant, heavily-monitored, systems of their own.
Among these is Symphony, a 'a cloud-based, compliant platform for instant communication and content sharing ' developed by a consortium of financial services firms led by Goldman Sachs. Developed from the instant messaging and chat provider Perzo, which Goldman bought into last year, Symphony is an instant messaging platform that provides regulators with, 'an unaltered, auditable and retrievable record of all information flows with demonstrable, proven controls and surveillance.' Based upon open-source customizable code, the product is due to become available across the market this year.
In the meantime. this is what Al Silverstein, Head of Marketing at Symphony, told us about the company and its plans.
What Symphony's links with Goldman Sachs are now? Are you a standalone company sponsored by Goldman?
Symphony is a standalone company. The consortium (the 15 investors) that initially invested $66m dollars in Symphony in October 2014 are the platform’s first users and also form the company’s board of directors, including Goldman Sachs. As such, we continue to work closely with them, for instance as at last weekend's GS Hackathon.
How many people does Symphony employ and where?
Symphony is growing rapidly. The company has 77 employees, which is almost triple the company’s size at launch in October 2014. Symphony has offices in Palo Alto, California (currently 54 employees); New York City (currently 14 employees); and London (currently 9 employees).
Do you have expansion plans for 2015? Do you plan to open new global offices, for example?
Symphony continues to expand both in the U.S. and internationally. We will be opening additional offices in Asia later this year and expect to at least double our employee count by end of 2015.
Which are the key skills you look like in new hires? Which key programming languages are you interested in?
In additional to being a skilled programmer, we seek out innovators, game changers and problem solvers. We look for engineers with experience working with Java, Big Table, NoSQL, AWS, GCE, Agile/Scrum.