“ART was a life-saver. It was like talking to a bank manager, as you could 20 years ago.”
Brian Donnelly is a serial entrepreneur with a special interest in developing software solutions to business problems. “My other half is a CFO (Chief Finance Officer),” he says, “and she drew my attention to the challenges involved in handling spreadsheets to provide accurate and timely management information just at the time that I was looking to set up a new venture.”
Having explored the issues, Brian’s solution was to establish Synapse, offering a cloud-based tool that allows staff to update spreadsheets remotely and simultaneously. “It’s easy to use, saves time and money and can improve business performance,” he says. “There is no need to invest in any additional hardware or software; there is a monthly fee, expert support if needed, and away you go – it just works.”
Rapid growth led to a squeeze on cashflow. “I had sunk all of my own capital in the business, was up to the maximum in loans from the bank and then discovered ART,” Brian recalls. “Andy King listened, understood and made a decision.”
A first and second loan from ART enabled Brian to stabilise the business and access more finance, including grants which required match funding. When he was looking to diversify and introduce a new product, a third loan helped him to bring it to market.
With ART’s support, Synapse grew from a standing start to a £1.5m turnover enterprise employing 28 staff in just over three years – and Brian would have no hesitation in recommending ART or applying for further loans in future. He sees huge potential for Synapse and is looking forward to continued growth in the years ahead. “Anyone who uses spreadsheets on a daily basis can benefit,” he says.