Synapse likely to crack CPBJ’s Top 100 by 2016

Synapse is in the news again, this time in Central Penn Business Journal’s annual review of the Top 100 private companies in Central PA. Out of more than 40,000 businesses in the region, Synapse Marketing Solutions was picked as a company likely to crack into the Top 100 by the 2016 Olympics.

Read on to see what the CPBJ had to say about Synapse when they interviewed Synapse founder Bobby Deraco.

Lancaster County marketing firm could be one to crack Top 100.

Five years ago, Robert Deraco took a leap of faith and put his 10 years of marketing experience to the test.

The now 34-year-old founded East Hempfield-based Synapse Marketing Solutions in September 2007. His goal: To provide clients with a higher level of service.

“When I was employed (by someone else), I couldn’t control all factors and how I wanted clients to be treated,” Deraco said. “The service aspect was so big for me in the beginning.”

With an early focus on direct marketing, the firm finished 2007 with $422,000 in revenue. By 2008, Synapse boosted sales and finished the year with $2.2 million in revenue. As the economy worsened and marketing departments for large corporations trimmed budgets and scaled back on staff — many of the people Deraco and his small staff work with — Synapse expanded its core services and added employees.

The company continued to grow revenue and bolster its roster of national accounts, which also made it prime for acquisition, Deraco said.

“I was pursued by a much larger company at the end of 2009,” he said.

Giving up a huge financial gain that might have set him up for life, Deraco grew his interactive division. “This is my passion. I have specific ideas with how my employees are treated,” he said.

Synapse hit $3.4 million in 2010 and $6.1 million last year, moving it up the professional services list and making it a legitimate contender for Top 100 by the time the 2016 Olympic Games roll around.

Deraco said he is confident his company will be a premier company to work with and for, and he hopes to crack the $15 million to $30 million range for revenue within five years. He has invested heavily in modifications to the company’s 10,000-square-foot office space to make things efficient. As the company continues to grow — currently there are 35 employees, including Internet strategists, programmers, specialty and other high-level mobile application developers, email experts and database programmers — Deraco said he anticipates a move. Planning has begun to move by early 2014, he said. He is hoping to buy or build a facility in the Lancaster area, maybe even in the city because of its vibrant downtown.

“I am not interested in expanding to the point of opening offices outside of here. I am more interested in growing jobs in the local community,” Deraco said.

The firm’s steady growth drew the attention of Inc. magazine last year. Synapse came in at No. 396 on its 30th annual Inc. 500, a ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. “The exposure on the Inc. 500 has definitely put us out there in front of people looking to buy best-in-class companies,” Deraco said, citing at least 20 to 30 offers to sell his company. “I’m not going anywhere. I love this business and love the people that work with me.”

Today the majority of business is in interactive marketing, branding and interactive campaign development. All of the firm’s work is done in-house, and it runs the gamut of industries. “It’s an industry that is very difficult to stand out in,” Deraco said. “We spend time following what’s going on in the industry to stay ahead of the curve. In the last 12 months, we’ve expanded our reach and work with national and major companies. When you get to that point, the level of competition increases.”

Read the full article here.

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