Benoît Grélard

Lead frontend developer
London, UK / 35

I'm a lead web developer with 10+ years of experience focused on frontend. I have worked in various industries such as advertising, financial and startups. I love building great products with interesting data, beautiful UI and great UX.

These days I specialize in building complex applications, often with lots of data, interactions and visualizations. My tools of choice are React, Styled Components, GraphQL and D3.

headshot of Benoît Grélard

Profile

Whilst studying computer science, I always felt different. I cared deeply about the visual components of programming. After school, I would spend my nights learning about design, flash, 3D animations, etc. I started cultivating a passion for the web as I realised its inherent power and universality compared to any sort of native compiled application.

By the time I got my master's degree, it was clear to me that I was going to work with web technologies. I went on to take a position at Orange in Paris, as part of the R&D department working with frontend technologies to create cross platform widgets. It was not enough to fuel my passion for design too, so I decided to run my own company as well, working for clients like Areva, Monoprix and Carrefour.

After 3 years at Orange, I needed another challenge. I moved to London and accepted a frontend developer role at R/GA where I had the opportunity to work on award winning projects for international brands such as Pearson, Beats by Dre, Nike, O2 and Getty Images producing all sorts of high-end web-based solutions tailored to the client's needs.

In late 2013, I took on yet another challenge and decided to create my own company and am now helping people to build successful web products.

I am absolutely passionate about the web and I focus my expertise in frontend development. With over 10 years experience in web development and great collaboration skills, notably with design and UX people, I am a solid addition to any team.


Career History

Magic Leap

Magic Leap One is a spatial computer that lets you see and interact with digital content in the world around you.

Lead creative web engineer / June 2019 – July 2019 / Remote

Plural AI

Plural AI is the knowledge engine for finance. Users can experience new ways of doing financial analysis.

Full stack web developer (contract) / March 2019 – June 2019 / London

I helped Plural AI build the next generation of their product, introducing best practices in a brand new project. The main technologies involved were React/TypeScript/GraphQL/MongoDB.

Fathom

Fathom are a UX consultancy making the business world’s most complex systems useful again through elegant interfaces and data visualisation.

Lead frontend developer / May 2016 – March 2019 / London

I joined Fathom full–time and led teams to help fintech companies, banks as well as startups build web apps.

I led the build of a first–to–market realtime energy trading platform for BP. The product includes a range of realtime elements like prices as well as charts. We leveraged React and GraphQL as core technologies.

I worked with tech startup vFunction helping them create a product from scratch and craft an incredible experience for their users. The application was built with React and D3. A few key aspects made the build quite challenging in terms of dataviz. I ended up creating a solution seemlessly mixing SVG and canvas.

Other than client work, I spent a lot of time instigating a culture of code quality, testing, continuous integration, as well as mentored.

I am currently working with market leaders to overhaul the US mortgage servicing industry by bringing it onto the blockchain. The project uses React and GraphQL.

Senior frontend developer (contract) / November 2013 – May 2016 / London

During my time at Fathom as a contractor, I helped build large-scale data-driven web applications for the financial industry. These ranged from admin software to realtime trading applications.

Notably, one of the projects I worked on for Commerzbank was very challenging. Together with their internal backend developers, I architectured and developed a frontend library to help them rebuild all of their apps and bring them to the web platform. In parallel, we also used the library to build realtime applications, such as trading clients now deployed and used by hundreds of traders throughout New York, Singapore and Frankfurt.

I also worked on a product called Fathom SuperGrid, which we developed internally and used on a variety of our clients.

R/GA

R/GA is a world renowned digital agency.

Senior open standards developer / July 2010 — November 2013 / London

I started at R/GA as an Open standards developer and quickly got promoted to Senior.

I had the chance to work on award winning projects for an incredibly broad range of clients such as eBay, Getty Images, O2, Nike, Beats by Dre, Pearson.

My work ranged from an entire education platform on web + iPad, static sites, a large–scale responsive e–commerce website, or an interactive installation for the 2012 Olympics, to mobile–first web apps.

Orange R&D

Orange is a big telco group in Europe.

Frontend developer / October 2007 — May 2010 / Paris

I started my career at the MEDIA lab — Orange Labs/France Telecom's R&D branch where I contributed to the creation of a framework which enabled developers to build cross–environment and cross–platform widgets. I also developed numerous widgets connected to various APIs and services.

The project was awarded an Orange Award in 2008.


Skills

JavaScript

I have very good underlying knowledge of JavaScript itself. I currently specialize in the React / GraphQL ecosystem.

I have also developed a keen interest in functional programming.

My current stack is:

CSS

I build large and advanced CSS architecture whilst keeping scalability in mind. I am very familiar with methodologies and conventions such as BEM, OOCSS, SMACSS.

I have strong knowledge of browsers and devices capabilities.

I currently specialize in using CSS–in–JS (Styled Components, emotion) as a tool to achieve a highly reusable and scalable architecture.

HTML

I care about writing clear and semantic markup and always try to keep accessibility in mind.

Collaboration

I am experienced in leading small to medium development teams (3–6). I often take the role of thought leader on code quality as well as performance. I can also help building a team by leading interviews.

I work particularly well in cross functional teams. I collaborate very closely with all disciplines (design, UX) in order to produce the best experience possible for users.

I also have a lot of experience client–facing, being the point of contact for technology on the project as well as pitching or demoing.

Miscelaneous

I am fluent in English but my mother tongue is French. I also understand a bit of Spanish.


Education

2007 / Master's degree in software engineering

Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France (graduated with honours)

2005 / Bachelor's degree in software engineering

Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France

2002 / A levels

La Croix Rouge, Brest, France


Interests

I am a music enthusiast. I have been playing the piano since the age of 7 years old. I also played in a band for 10 years and have composed soundtracks for multiple documentaries.

Other interests include: travel, movies, musical–theatre, design, playing Lego with my kids, sleight of hand magic.


References

Available on request, you can also view my LinkedIn profile.

Some quotes from my peers:

Benoît has held the flag of simplicity and elegance in code/architecture. His critical thinking has shaped the way we approach our engineering across projects.
— Pete Correia / Lead developer
He is excited and ambitious about making stuff the best it can be. Many of his decisions are around delivering a good experience, not on how long or how hard they are to engineer.
— Daniel van Nieuwenhuizen / Head of Product Design
Benoît led by example and really held the project together. He has been a great conduit between us and the client and an excellent mentor to other team members. Great team leader!
— Ben Hardman / Senior Project Manager
He’s a great system thinker, which makes developing consistent UX and UI much easier. Inquisitive, ready to question requirements and “keep digging” until he finds the right answers. He has the mindset of a sharp creative technologist, loved that :)
— Valentina Ferrandes / Senior UX Designer
Benoît owns the delivery and works hard to find solutions as issues arise which builds confidence with the client.
— Mike Knight / Director
He really cares about design and motion and is willing to do the extra things to make the product special.