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TypePrivately held company
IndustryEducation Applications
FoundedOctober 2015
FoundersJames Gupta & Omair Vaiyani
HeadquartersLeeds, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
James Gupta
Omair Vaiyani
Number of employees
ParentSynap Learning Ltd

Synap is an intelligent Learning Management System that uses the principles of spaced repetition to help people learn more in less time and learn information they can recall in the long term. Spaced repetition has been shown to increase the rate of memorization.[1]


Synap was developed by two doctors at Leeds Medical School. Having used spaced repetition software such as Anki in the past, they created a website that allowed students to write crowdsourced quizzes in a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) format.[2]

The early version of Synap operated under the name 'MyCQs', which was released as a native iOS application and website in 2012, and initially gained popularity amongst UK medical students[3][4][5]

During this time, CEO James Gupta was recruited as the Chief Technology Officer for JumpIn, a student-focused taxi booking and sharing app.[6] The company was acquired by taxi firm Addison Lee in 2014,[7][8] after which James returned to focus on MyCQs with is co-founder and CTO Omair Vaiyani.

In 2014, MyCQs received funding and mentoring from Jisc, an education technology charity,[9] and received a scholarship from The University of Leeds.[10] In 2015, the team shifted focus by integrating more algorithms based on educational psychology research,[11] and started to describe itself as a 'personalised learning' platform.[12] This also led to the company being renamed Synap[13]

In August 2015, Synap launched a successful equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.[14][15] James and Omair graduated from medical school in 2017 and focused on Synap full time, growing the team and setting up offices In Leeds.

In 2020, the Synap team has grown and has remained in Leeds with an office in Castleton Mill. By developing the platform alongside students Synap became a really intuitive easy to use system. As a result Synap is now a fully fledged  Learning Management System that looks and feels like other modern SaaS platforms. Synap is a system that people use because they want to, not because they have to.


Synap is designed with the end user in mind. By making it easy for people to access their courses, assignments, or question banks Synap ensures that less time is spent searching and more time is spent learning and practicing. Synap’s proprietary Spaced Learning algorithms are based on the principles of spaced repetition. The algorithms look at what users are doing well, and what they need to work on to create short bitesize quizzes that typically only take a few minutes a day, and that can be done on any device.


Synap was originally developed on Facebook's Parse platform.[16] In January 2016, Facebook announced that Parse would be closing down, and advised developers to migrate their apps to other services.[17] As of March 2016, Synap has been hosted on Amazon Web Services, using the newly open-sourced Parse Server, which itself uses Node.js. The website is developed in Ember.js, and uses a MongoDB database, making Synap an example of full stack JavaScript development.[18]

Recognition and awards

Synap has been featured in The Oxford Public Health Magazine.[19]

In December 2015, Synap was listed as one of 10 British AI companies to look out for, by Business Insider.[20]

In 2017, Synap was in the top 10 Northern Startups named by Tech Nation

In 2017, Synap was won the Northern Stars award from Tech North

In 2018, Synap won Leeds Startup of the Year at the Leeds Digital Festival

See also


  1. ^ Smolen, Paul; Zhang, Yili; Byrne, John H. (25 January 2016). "The right time to learn: mechanisms and optimization of spaced learning". Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 17 (2): 77–88. arXiv:1606.08370. Bibcode:2016arXiv160608370S. doi:10.1038/nrn.2015.18. PMC 5126970. PMID 26806627.
  2. ^ "Leeds Medicine Undergraduate Academic Brochure (p32)", Leeds Medical School, retrieved 2016-04-24
  3. ^ "University of Leeds students aiming to get top marks for smartphone app", Yorkshire Evening Post, retrieved 2016-04-24
  4. ^ "Student Generated Resources", Technology in Medical Education (University of Leeds), retrieved 2016-04-24
  5. ^ "Leeds Medicine Undergraduate Academic Brochure (p32)", Leeds Medical School, retrieved 2016-04-24
  6. ^ "Leeds University case studies: JumpIn", Leeds University Careers, retrieved 2016-04-24
  7. ^ "Young brits: the winner's stories so far", Jack Wills Blog, retrieved 2016-04-24
  8. ^ "2015: Year of the rideshare?", Cab4Now, retrieved 2016-04-24
  9. ^ "Jisc Summer of Student Innovation 2014", Jisc, retrieved 2016-04-24
  10. ^ "University bootcamp puts fledgling entrepreneurs through their paces", University of Leeds, retrieved 2016-04-24
  11. ^ "Interview with James Gupta, CEO & Founder of Synap",, retrieved 2016-04-24
  12. ^ "The death of the university lecture", Huffington Post, retrieved 2016-04-24
  13. ^ "Synap FAQ: What is Synap?", Synap, retrieved 2016-04-24
  14. ^ "Crowdcube official pitch page for Synap", Crowdcube, retrieved 2016-04-24
  15. ^ "Edtech entrepreneurs launch £180,000 crowdfunding campaign", Business Desk, retrieved 2016-04-24
  16. ^ "Developing an effective technology stack", Synap Blog, retrieved 2016-04-24/
  17. ^ "Moving On", Parse Blog, retrieved 2016-04-24
  18. ^ "'s technology stack", StackShare, retrieved 2016-04-24
  19. ^ "Oxford Public Health Magazine Issue 4: Innovation and social entrepreneurship (p32-33", Oxford Public Health Magazine, retrieved 2016-04-24
  20. ^ "10 British AI companies to look out for in 2016", Business Insider, retrieved 2016-24-04