High-school days: Michael and Rust, now 23, met in high school in Richland. Rust was president of the school's computer club, and the two started talking with other friends about developing a search engine focused on travel. The result was BopLop.com, which ran for a little more than a year before the group closed it.
On to college: The effort lit the entrepreneurial fires of Michael and Rust, who went on to Central Washington University. They wanted to drop out to build a business, but their parents, not surprisingly, weren't too pleased with the idea. So they started Synapse just before graduating in 2004 and moved to Seattle to focus on the company.
Expanded offerings: Now, Synapse offers 14 Web-based programs that can be used independently or in connection with each other. The applications include a service appointment scheduler, a Web traffic-reporting tool and a customer-billing program.
Helping the target: "Small businesses still just don't know the true power of what a database or a Web-based application can do for them," said Michael. "Or they think that maybe it's too complex for them. Ours is easy to pick up and use right away."
Independently funded: Synapse has not accepted venture funding and has no plans to. The company is profitable, Michael said.
Still developing: Synapse is building two more applications. One is similar to a scratch pad for budgets, Michael said, and the other is a peer-communication tool. This fall, the company plans to expand its focus to consumers and allow its applications to be used on mobile devices.
Managing merlot: The company recently released "Synapse Wine," software for wineries. The programs can manage wine-club members, subscription data and inquiries.
Moving forward: The ultimate goal? Not to have a "castle in the sky," Michael said. "We want to really have a legacy, hands down."
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company