Two years ago today, on 23 June 2019, I created the n8n repository on GitHub. What started as a personal project has evolved into a company with a global reach. Thanks to all the people who supported and contributed to it. On the occasion of our second anniversary, I want to share with you our milestones and goals.
How it started
I created n8n initially because I realized that every time I wrote a script to automate a small task, it took me a long time. Depending on the task, it usually involved reading documentation, writing code, committing to GitHub, deploying on a server, error reporting, SSL, making sure it restarts on a crash, and so on. Even small tasks took at least half a day or a day until everything was up and running. Existing open source solutions were not up to the challenge, so I decided to build my own.
At that time, I was working on n8n as a side project, besides my other startup and my part-time job at another startup which allowed me to finance it. In June 2019, I published the first version of n8n on GitHub and shared it on alternativeto.net and Quora.
Soon after making n8n public on GitHub, people started to report issues, open PRs, and send me emails. It was great to see that people around the world were using the tool I built and were getting value out of it – so much that they were investing their time to contribute to the codebase.
I've always been a supporter of open-source projects and believe that source code should be available to everyone. That is why I chose to make n8n openly available and fair-code.
I was aware that at that stage that n8n had some issues and shortcomings. I spent the next few months learning and working on them. In October, I felt that n8n was ready to be presented to a wider audience, so I launched it on ProductHunt and HackerNews.
From there, n8n took off, and I started forming a team of incredibly talented people to build together a powerful and high-quality workflow automation tool.
Milestones in the n8n journey
In the past years, we have reached several milestones:
- The n8n repository gathered 5,000 stars only five months after publishing and 10,000 stars by November 2019.
- One of the most active contributors became an employee – read about Ricardo’s journey to n8n.
- In March 2020, we raised $1.5M in seed funding, to help us build the n8n team.
- The first team members joined in April 2020, remotely or in our Berlin office.
- 100 people had contributed to the n8n repository by November 2020.
- In December 2020, we organized the first Hackmation – a quarterly team event where we have fun automating internal processes.
- In April 2021, we raised $12M in Series A, helping us follow our expansion plans.
- In May 2021, we started hosting monthly community meetups, where n8n enthusiasts present their workflows and exchange ideas. If you’d like to join, subscribe to our newsletter and join our Discord channel!
Apart from forming an amazing team and user community, we significantly improved and extended n8n and hit some significant technical milestones:
- The first pull request from a user two months after publishing n8n.
- We added functionality for scaling n8n and workflow tagging.
- We created 200 nodes by the end of October, and we currently offer 270+ integrations.
- On 30 December 2020, we made the 100th n8n release (what a way to end the year!). Currently, we release a new version every week.
- In January 2021, we launched n8n.cloud, making it easier for users to deploy smart workflows that run their products, services, and business processes.
- We recently launched n8n.embed for users and businesses who want to embed n8n within their software product to accelerate product development and reduce maintenance effort.
What we’re up to next
We have two main goals that we want to achieve in the next months: releasing n8n version 1.0 and user management functionality. Other than that, we are continuously creating new nodes, improving existing ones, and redesigning the Editor UI.
We strive to offer a top-quality workflow automation tool that equips users with technical superpowers! We believe that everyone will be a citizen developer in the future, and automation skills will be of utmost importance. To help you get started, we are creating certification courses for n8n that will be available soon.
How you can contribute to n8n
If you’d like to contribute to n8n, first of all – thank you! Community is at the heart of our work, and we wouldn’t be here without your support. There are different ways in which you can contribute, depending on your interests and skills:
- As a programmer, you can create new nodes, add functionality to existing ones, or fix open issues.
- As a writer, you can improve and extend our documentation or write blog posts about your experience with n8n or workflows that you’ve built.
- As a creator, you can share your workflows on our workflow page or create videos explaining n8n.
- As an employee, you can apply to n8n for engineering, marketing, or customer support roles – we are hiring for different positions.
Thank you for your support from the whole n8n team, and stay tuned for more news!