Meet Niall Crosby, CEO of JavaScript Data Grid: AG Grid

After a record year and taking in over £16m at AG gridthe team TechRound spoke to the company’s CEO, Niall Crosby, about how he has made the data grid vendor the “gold standard” in the industry.

ag grid

What inspired you to found AG Grid?

I worked as a developer at investment bank RBS in London in 2014. Back then, the entire banking industry started using JavaScript and the web to build applications, replacing desktop applications.

This meant that the bank’s users (bank employees, merchants, etc.) expected a user experience similar to desktop applications. In other words, they wanted a rich experience in using the applications, similar to that of Excel (they all know Excel very well).

I was challenged to create a new product for the bank using JavaScript. The application needed to display a lot of data in a data grid. You’d typically use a third-party data grid for this job, but I was unhappy with the options currently available.

This prompted me to start AG Grid as a hobby project for my own use. I’m releasing the project as open source to benefit the world and to my surprise (which was stupid of me, I should have known) my favorite project solved a global problem. There were many other developers who needed a data grid like mine, and my pet project became popular online, spreading by word of mouth.

After almost a year, the project had grown organically to 8,000 monthly downloads. So I decided to quit my job and concentrate fully on the project. Now the project has 1.4 million monthly downloads and is funded by us by charging for an enterprise version (which comes with more features) while still giving away the basic version as open source.

The company recently announced growth to £16m in sales. What are the main reasons for this success?

We did something no one else has done. There were other data grids then, and there are data grids now, but we’ve become the industry gold standard.

The reason for this success is 1) the breadth of features and 2) the quality of the product.

The breadth of features means AG Grid can do many things that our competitors just can’t. For example, with AG Grid you can create charts similar to chart data in Excel, right from the grid. This is not a case of “we do it better” but a case of “our competition just doesn’t do it”.

The quality of the product is due to the excellent technical skills of the AG Grid team. A datagrid is one of the hardest things to write, it’s a very complex project. We are able to pull this off because we have a very skilled engineering team. As we are a small niche company we can take our time finding the right people and will often interview 10-20 people for a position.

Post-Covid, how important are data grids for businesses and what are the key use cases?

Covid has not had an impact the software world. If anything, it has accelerated the transition to using software such as B. Enabling online shopping and working from home. The world will continue to need to write more software. A data grid is always required for companies displaying data.

What are AG Grid’s key USPs?

The functionality of AG Grid and the quality of the product do not go together.

Where do you see the company in 5 years?

We currently have 1.4 million downloads per month. Given current trends, 5 million downloads per month is not unthinkable. It is also not inconceivable that most business applications that require data to be displayed in a data grid use AG Grid.

AG Grid currently sells to 80% of the Fortune 500, which is a huge channel for selling more products. In 5 years AG Grid will either have switched to selling another product through this channel or be acquired for its customer base. Meet Niall Crosby, CEO of JavaScript Data Grid: AG Grid

Fry Electronics Team

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