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

Following a record-breaking year and over £16m in revenues at AG Grid, the team at TechRound spoke to the company’s CEO Niall Crosby about how he made the data grid provider the ‘gold standard’ within the industry.



What Inspired You To Start AG Grid?


I was working as a developer in RBS investment bank in London back in 2014. At the time the whole banking industry was starting to use JavaScript and the Web to create applications, replacing desktop applications.

That meant the bank’s users (employees of the bank, traders etc) were expecting a User Experience similar to desktop applications. In other words, they wanted a rich experience when using the applications, similar to that of Excel (they all know Excel very well).

I was challenged with creating a new product for the bank using JavaScript. The application needed to show a lot of data inside a data-grid. You normally use a third party data-grid for this job, however I was displeased with the options currently available.

This led me to start AG Grid as a hobby project for my own usage. I release the project as Open Source to benefit the world, and to my surprise (which was stupid of me, I should of known) my pet project solved a global problem. There were lots of other developers that needed a data-grid just like mine, and my pet project became popular online, spread by word of mouth.

After almost one year, the project had grown organically to 8 thousand monthly downloads. With that I decided to quit my job and focus on the project full time. Now the project has 1.4 million monthly downloads and is funded by us charging for an Enterprise version (that comes with more features) while still giving away the base version as Open Source. 

The Company Recently Announced Growth to £16m Revenues, What Are The Key Reasons For This Success?


We did something that nobody else was doing. There were other data-grid out there at the time, and there are data-grids out there now, however we have become the industry gold standard.

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

The breadth of features means AG Grid can do many things our competitors simply cannot do. For example, AG Grid allows you to build charts similar to charting data in Excel, right from the grid out of the box. This isn’t a case of “we do it better”, but a case of “our competitors simply don’t do this”.

The quality of the product comes down to the excellent engineering skills of the AG Grid team. A datagrid is one of the most difficult things to write, it is a very complex project. We are able to pull this off because we have a very skilled engineering team. Because we are a small niche company, we can take the time to find the right people, often interviewing 10 to 20 individuals for one position.


Post-Covid, How Important Are Data-Grids for Businesses and What Are The Key Use Cases?


Covid has not impacted the software world. If anything, it has accelerated the move to using software such as enabling online shopping and enabling working from home. The world will continue to need more software to be written. For businesses that show data, a data-grid will always be needed.

What Are AG Grid’s Key USPs?


The breadth of features in AG Grid and the quality of the product are not matched.

Where Do You See The Company in 5 Years?


We currently have 1.4m downloads per month. Given current trends, it’s not inconceivable to have 5m downloads per month. It is also not inconceivable to have most business applications that require displaying data in a data-grid to be using AG Grid.

AG Grid currently sells to 80% of the fortune 500 which is a massive channel for selling more products. In 5 years from now, AG Grid will either have pivoted to sell another product though this avenue, or will be acquired for its customer base.