Synapse Product Development
1511 Sixth Ave., Seattle
At Synapse, something brilliant always seems to be in the works. Its teams of inventors, designers and engineers tackle all sort of problems for clients, whether it’s creating a GPS sports watch for Nike and TomTom, developing plaque removal technology for Philips Sonicare, DNA field analysis devices for Seahawk Biosystems or a metered electricity regulator for use in Bangalore, India. Its latest effort, in partnership with Kirkland’s Viableware, is a secure restaurant payment system that allows diners to split the bill as many ways as they like and pay through their mobile devices. Started by four out-of-work engineers who liked to solve tough problems, Synapse has grown to a 200-person firm with offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong, fostering a creative environment that has given the company a reputation for making really cool stuff.
Jackson Fish Market
815 Seattle Blvd. S, Seattle
In the short time since a pair of former Microsoft employees launched this boutique house of “handcrafted software experiences,” Jackson Fish Market has attracted big-name clients through attractively designed, nifty apps for the web and mobile devices. A recent effort is “A Story Before Bed,” a service that lets teachers, librarians, parents and kids record themselves reading children’s books. The bridging of time and distance has helped families of military personnel, who have received nearly a quarter million free recordings.