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23 February 2009  
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Home - Management - Article


Sign in (cyn.in) Cynapse

Cynapse is a focused, two-product company which has its charter and strategy right on track. Guided by experience and expertise, it is the fourth entrepreneurial venture of its founder. By Renuka Vembu

Cynapse was founded by Apurva Roy Choudhury and Dhiraj Gupta. The company started its operations in 2001. This is Choudhury’s fourth entrepreneurial venture, and is a self-funded company. His first three companies were the stepping stones for him to start Cynapse.

It broadly provides software products in areas of productivity, collaboration and information management. The name Cynapse is derived from synapse, which means the link between an axon and a dendrite in the human nervous system; a literal promise to connect and deliver at the speed of thought. So, their prime focus has been to connect and knowledge-enable people.

Their products evolve the way people connect with each other and their business. Their goal is to evolve the way knowledge workers communicate, collaborate and share information among themselves. They are mainly a two-product company—cyn.in and syncnotes; the projects they sometimes undertake are merely as a means of additional income and to stay afloat.

Apurva Roy Choudhury, CEO, Cynapse, said, “The team was motivated by the idea of building applications meant to benefit mankind. The shared commitment to inventing new products that would be widely used and would excite the admiration of our professional peers was our focus and glued us together.”

The journey begins

"The shared commitment to inventing new products that would be widely used and would excite the admiration of our professional peers was our focus and glued us together"

- Apurva Roy Choudhury
CEO, Cynapse

Microsoft wanted to create and maintain a strong community of developers and evangelists spanning 18 countries who would work on their brand new .Net platform. Easy adoption, timely access and simple usage, were their primary agenda. To enable this, they wanted users to evaluate the technology without having to install any infrastructure. Microsoft wanted the users to showcase their solutions in the community and wanted to provide a free deployment for .Net applications, capitalize on the need and empower the platform.

To assist Microsoft in this venture, Cynapse created an online community platform that virtually housed sandboxed servers for over 50,000 developers with nearly 17,400 project sites from across the regions in a record time. Microsoft, with the help of this community, gained the confidence of the developers across Asia and built popularity around their technology. This project was rated by them to be the most profitable marketing campaign towards their developer community-building initiative that year.

Thus Cynapse made their mark and a huge impact with their first client. This helped them continue the momentum for their future products and further engagements. Their global limelight came from their product SyncNotes. It was one of the first ever, true RIA and Web 2.0 applications back in 2004. Over 200,000 users actively used in it in its first year itself and the number of users have been growing ever since. SyncNotes is one of the popular and widely used note-taking tool in its domain.

Challenges on the way

One of the biggest difficulty was that the Indian IT environment was very hostile towards product development and companies were not willing to pay for software. They managed to make money because there was market demand for their product and they were well-connected, but they lost out on precious time during this battle. This made cyn.in’s entry late by almost four years, felt Choudhury.

Work segregation

Cynapse creates technology that is simple to its users, solves fundamental problems and appeals to a wide variety of audience. All their inventions follow these core principles.

Internet is where their work is concentrated towards. The Internet penetration, its growing connection, the surging usage and phenomenal volumes means Cynapse recruits people from across the globe—Israel, Russia, Thailand, Singapore, etc. To serve their dispersed set of clientele, they have partners and development centers across geographical boundaries. Though the company does not engage in undertaking projects, its consulting arm takes up a few selected projects that are aligned with the R&D of Cynapse’s product line-up.

The most valued

Cyn.in is Cynapse’s most significant product. It is an open source group collaboration software that interconnects people seamlessly, with each other and their collective knowledge. It has witnessed more than 15,000 deployments in less than six months across the globe, with educational institutes and medium to large enterprises adopting it for their collaboration requirements.

Cyn.in v.2 has some changed capabilities. It’s a SaaS model built into an appliance, which is remotely managed by them. It is a server product and needs an operating system. The software appliance is built inside the company, behind the firewall. “Large businesses persisted buying software which don’t allow them to control where it is installed/located,” said Choudhury.

They are in talks with 700 companies for cyn.in v.2 next year and since it is an open source software, in the last three to four months since its launch, it has already seen 4000 companies using the free version.

Clients, contracts and employees

Choudhury said, “We cater to a range of customers—from end-users to enterprises. With over 450,000 users of SyncNotes worldwide and over 32,000 companies using cyn.in, these products power Fortune 500 companies to small companies globally, enabling them to leverage their business information strategically.”

“We keep our team lean, hire only top-level technical architects and marketers, locally. Rest of the team spans across the globe and work with us over the Internet. 70% of the workforce comprises people in the technical arena and operations field; sales has always been inbound, so we hire only strategic marketers and partners instead of a large sales team,” explained Choudhury.

Future vision and plan

Their last year revenue was Rs 2.5 crores, and the revenues have doubled in the last three years. They give minimum attention to their solution business so that they can focus on their product side. Their forecast for the next year is to touch $1.5 million in revenues. They plan to channelize their growth and have no plans of diversification.

They aim to be one of the dominant players globally in the collaboration/Knowledge Management/communication space. Cynapse aims to be a Fortune 500 company in 10 years.

Significant milestone

  • 2008: Cynapse announces its first open source offering to the world; cyn.in—a collaborative knowledge management software
  • 2006: cyn.in, Cynapse’s flagship public offering, delivered globally over the Internet in the SaaS business model was launched worldwide
  • 2005: Cynapse delivered Amieo—the vibrant collaboration and contribution-rich WCM product that powers powerful brands online
  • 2004: SyncNotes the most popular and innovative note-taking application was launched and achieved over 200,000 active users in the first year
  • 2002: Cynapse delivers the successful award winning information encryption and storage application InfoCryptor with 448-bit encryption technology
  • 2001: High technology products company founded



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