Synapse Information has been awarded an Innovate UK ‘Smart Grant’ of close to £250,000 to diversify its business and grow to over 100 employees within five years.

Started in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Brian Donnelly, Synapse is a business spreadsheet collaboration company based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus which currently employs 20 people.

The £248,691 award will provide 45 per cent of the total research and development costs for ‘Cloud CFO’; a new technology that will enable the automation of finances at multiple levels in a business.

Brian Donnelly, CEO of Synapse, said: “Our existing spreadsheet collaboration product enables an unlimited number of users from one company to work on the same spreadsheet simultaneously, while always providing one version of the truth.

“Rather than the consolidation of group finances being such a painstaking task at the end of each month, Cloud CFO will identify the relevant information from individual group entities’ financial data and automate the process.“

The concept for the new technology has been developed by Synapse’s team of software engineers, with input from Tineke Booth; the company’s Finance and Operations Manager, who recently joined the start-up from KPMG.

Brian is no stranger to starting up spreadsheet-related enterprises which secure large sums of investment. His previous business, Constellar, was relocated from the UK to California’s ‘Silicon Valley’. Over a series of investment rounds with US venture capitalists, he raised a total of £20m, enabling the team to grow to 160 with a customer base of 70 large clients, before he exited the business and subsequently returning to the UK.

Published: Business Quarter 27 May 2015