David Gurle, Symphony

David Gurle, Symphony

Asset management firm Blackrock is trialling Symphony’s new financial messaging app.

The app is being tested by part of Blackrock’s workforce and it is “looking to roll it out more widely in the coming months”.

Blackrock is a major name to come onboard and the firm has 13,000 employees. However, Symphony has had success before as 18 other financial companies have already invested about $170 million. These include Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and JP Morgan.

Symphony is a rival to existing messenger systems run by Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters, and is the creation of David Gurle – who worked at Skype, Reuters and Microsoft. The app was developed in 2014 when it merged with Goldman Sachs’ in-house messaging product.

Gurle told Reuters that the messaging app expects to as much as double its current 75,000 users to between 130,000-150,000 by the end of this year. He said he was aiming for 300,000 by 2018.

Instant Bloomberg messaging and Thomson Reuters’ Eikon Messenger, have 327,000 and 270,000 users respectively.

Symphony’s messaging and workflow software uses a cloud-based/Software-as-as-Service (SaaS) subscription. It can also use existing cloud-hosting technologies or stand alone.

Since April 2015, it has been offering a beta version and says it will charge ”larger” clients $30 per user per month. “Smaller” firms will get a cheaper option.