Interesting Data Gigs # 25: Data Engineer at Adyen

One of my favorite businesses of all time

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Hello Data geek.

Today I wanted to analyze one of my favorite technology businesses of all time: Adyen, and I want to tell you why in a minute.

To be fair to you: this is not the first time I wrote about the company. Some years ago: I wrote an article in my personal blog called Adyen Payments: The Growth Hacking Tip You Must Use to Improve Dramatically Your Global Expansion.

I still believe that.

Why? Because it’s very simple.

Let’s talk about the problem of global expansion first.

When you are in a phase where your company has big ambitions to conquer the world, there are so many hurdles and problems to solve when you talk about one of the most important aspects of worldwide expansion: Payments.

The global payments ecosystem is so complex and different around the world: different payment methods, different regulations, different types of customers, etc.

And managing all the contracts, laws and more things seems like an impossible task.

Well, all those problems go away when you have a partner like Adyen.

With a single contract, you can have access to more than 250 payment methods around the world.

This means with a single contract, you could get paid in installments or through a Boleto in Brazil or through Apple Pay in the U.S., or iDEAL in the Netherlands:

The largest Latin American country by landmass and population, Brazil has the largest e-commerce market in the region, representing over 30% of Latin America's online sales. 80% of e-commerce payments are made in installments, while Boleto Bancário, a cash-on-delivery payment method, is also popular, especially among the 30% of Brazilians without access to a bank account.

Source: Adyen

But to be honest with is not my favorite characteristic of Adyen. I love Adyen because they have been doing this for many years and in a profitable way.

I want to put a big emphasis on profitability.

Many payments-related companies out there are losing billions of dollars every year, and need more and more capital to fund their operations.

The best example of this is Stripe (ironically I created my own company through Stripe Atlas to get paid for this newsletter), which just announced a big cut in its valuation from $95 Billion to $55 Billion in just two years, according to The Information:

But Adyen has taken a different path here.

Yes, they raised a ton of capital but they have been profitable since 2011. Yes, this is not a type: they have been profitable since 2011.

According to Crunchbase, their funding history is the following:

  • August 2011: A Series A led by Index Ventures of $16 Million. Adyen is one of the main reasons why I deeply admire Jan Hammer as an investor

  • December 2014: A Series B of $250 Million led by General Atlantic

  • September 2015: A Series C led by ICONIQ

  • Then, they did the IPO on Jun 13, 2018, with a share per price of 400 Euros raising a total of $1.1 Billion for a valuation of $8.3 Billion at that time.

But the numbers of today are even more impressive.

At the date I’m writing this article (March, 1st, 2023), the company’s valuation is $41,24 Billion with a price on its shares of $1,326 Euros per share.

But this is not all.

When you visit its Investor Relations website, there is more key information about why Adyen keeps growing and growing in a sane and profitable way.

On February 8th, 2023 they published the financial results of H2 2022, and they are impressive to say at least:

Summary H2 2022

  • Processed volume was €421.7 billion, up 41% year-on-year. Of these volumes, point-of-sale volumes were €67.6 billion, up 62% year-on-year

  • Net revenue was €721.7 million, up 30% year-on-year

  • EBITDA of €372.0 million, up 4% year-on-year, with EBITDA margin at 52%

  • Free cash flow conversion ratio was 80%, with CapEx at 8% of net revenue

Full Year 2022 Figures

  • Processed volume was €767.5 billion, up 49% year-on-year. Of these volumes, point-of-sale volumes were €112.5 billion, up 74% year-on-year

  • Net revenue was €1.3 billion, up 33% year-on-year

  • EBITDA of €728.3 million, up 16% year-on-year

  • EBITDA margin was 55% for the full year

  • CapEx was 7% of net revenue for the full year

BTW, some of my favorite parts of the H2 2022 Shareholders Letter was this one where they talk about the importance of employees for Adyen’s continued expansion:

Adyen is operating at an increasingly global scale. To sustain this rate of expansion, we spent H2 building our team at an accelerated pace.

Our headcount grew to a total of 3,332 FTE this period, compared to 2,575 FTE at the end of H1.

To bolster our international presence, we further developed our teams in cities around the world including Singapore, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Madrid, and São Paulo. Illustrating our tech-first approach to problem-solving, 58% of our H2 joiners were in the technology domain across data, payments, and financial product roles.

Meanwhile, 26% of the H2 new hires sit in commercial positions to scale our account management and sales abilities.

While the wider tech industry engages in headcount reductions and hiring freezes, we remain committed to the hiring plans that align with our long-term ambitions.

This means we do not deviate based on short-term, external factors such as candidate availability or fleeting sales channel fluctuations. Our sights are fixed on progressing towards our well-considered technical and commercial aspirations, for which additional muscle is essential. As we proceed with growing the team, we will stay disciplined in our resource planning.

This applies to both the quantity of people needed to solve problems, as well as their quality.

The Adyen Formula is the cornerstone of our company and we go to great lengths to scale it. Since our founding, every successful candidate has had to pass an interview with a member of our most senior leadership team.

To ensure Formula fit remains intact, we continue to implement this final round. We believe it is an essential step in both upholding our high talent standards, as well as preserving our company culture across all roles and regions

This proves 2 key points if you want to join the company:

  • Employees matters at Adyen

  • The bar is very high at Adyen, even to the point that someone from the senior leadership team will be part of the interview process.

I see this as an opportunity to shine, not to be nervous.

Treat this like a conversation, and more important: Just Be You. Don’t Pretend to Be another person.

So, let’s talk about the position then.

Data Engineering at Adyen

BTW: there are two open roles for Data Engineers right now (March 3rd, 2023), one based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the second based in Chicago, U.S.

Data Engineering at Adyen is very atypical and let me tell you why.

First, these guys are doing many things from scratch, and when I talk from scratch, I mean it.

Adyen is inside a highly regulated industry, especially in Europe.

So, they had to create their own data centers to isolate the data from their customers.

That’s the main reason why you will see a lot of infrastructure open roles as well where you see something like Ceph, OpenStack, Ansible, OpenVswitch, Numa, KSM, and much other stuff that you normally don’t see in other organizations.

Apache Spark is the backbone of Data Analytics, Data Science, Machine Learning, and almost anything related to Data at Adyen.

But, when you start to look for how Adyen is actually using Spark, you will see that you won’t work with the typical Spark cluster here.

You have to actually understand Spark inside and outside, and live proof of that is this very interesting post called “Building our data science platform with Spark and Jupyter“.

And apart from Spark, they use other tools like Looker, R, Airflow, Python, Java and more.

There is a great discussion about this in a recent interview with Melody Barlage, one of the Product Managers of the company in a podcast called Life after GDRP with Rick Dronkers:

So, don’t wait for more and apply in order to be part of the Adyen family.

Other resources to check out

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Final words

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Marcos out.

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