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Sumner & Scott interview with Brian Donnelly, Synapse CEO & Founder

The next in our series of interviews with the movers and shakers in Big Data is with Synapse Information CEO and Founder, Brian Donnelly.


Synapse solves business problems with an innovative alternative to commercial off-the-shelf IT applications. If spreadsheets remain a key tool for you in Group Company Financial Management or Corporate Performance Management and related Operational areas, they can make your spreadsheet systems completely reliable.

Based on ground-breaking R&D work funded by the UK Government’s investment in SMART technologies, the Synapse solution allows multiple business people, each with their own desktop spreadsheet, to maintain one consistent view of data at all times. This advanced capability arises from highly intelligent synchronisation in a special Cloud Server that understands the needs of collaborating groups – which is essential for the more complex, collaborative development and deployment, or periodic consolidation of inter-related spreadsheets.

Using advanced Cloud technology, Synapse can provide you with bespoke spreadsheet solutions that supercharge your familiar desktop tools. The much desired flexibility and personal productivity power of spreadsheets is augmented with trusted and reliable data quality and integrity, security, audit-ability and scalability.

A: Hi Brian, can we start with a brief introduction to you and Synapse

B: I’m CEO and founder of Synapse Information. In 2012 I was delighted to return to Birmingham from Silicon Valley to launch Synapse at the Innovation Birmingham campus, a tech start up hub in the city centre.

We’re expanding fast; the team tripled in size over 2015 and has continued to expand rapidly throughout 2016. We’ve acquired several customers, the most notable being a leading UK bank, a well-known global Swedish retailer and a global group manufacturing company. 

Our main product is a spreadsheet-based complete solution for group financial consolidation called Cloud CFO. It is a Cloud based, SaaS-style product that eliminates version control issues by allowing multi-user functionality and provides extensive audit, backup, security and user management capabilities – all this whilst retaining the flexibility of Excel spreadsheets and avoiding the vast expense, low adoption rates and general clunkiness of an enterprise solution.

A: What was the motivation behind setting up Synapse?

B: I have seen companies’ large and small struggle with spreadsheets to automate business critical operations. The fundamental solution to this problem became the basis of Synapse.

A: As 2016 has drawn to a close how has the year been for Synapse- highlights & challenges?

B: 2016 has been a hugely successful year for us, though it has not been without its challenges. We have acquired an abundance of massively talented staff, singed new customers and launched our flagship product, Cloud CFO. The main challenge has been finding the best way of reaching out to potential clients, those who are using spreadsheets but would like to remove their disadvantages e.g. version control, reporting inefficiencies and security.

A: What have been the most exciting developments in 2016?

B: Perfecting Cloud CFO as a SaaS and acquiring some fabulous new staff.

A: What do you think 2017 has in store for your market?

B: The cloud market is set to continue its exponential growth in 2017; the global market is expected to hit $146 billion. We anticipate more users moving over to the cloud for their business processes and financial consolidation.

A: What are the plans for Synapse in 2017?

B: In a nutshell we want to have lots of fun and grow the business. We’re also excited to launch our new product, project management tool, Cloud PPM.

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