Adyen’s global ambitions in Chicago

Discover how our new North American technology hub drives global ambitions with a customer-centric culture that values innovation, collaboration, and building lasting solutions.

November 14, 2023
 ·  5 minutes

When you think of technology innovation, Chicago may not be the first city that comes to mind. But that’s outdated thinking. In the last few years, Chicago has seen significant growth in their tech sector. According to Forbes, “V.C. firms in the city, the nation, and around the globe should take note; Chicago’s start-up system is primed to be a world leader.”

"The United States is a key market for us. It was important for Adyen to build a technology hub in Chicago so we can be close to customers and deepen our understanding of the market.” says Gayathri Rajan, Adyen Senior VP of Product.

Adyen always strives to be ahead of the curve. That’s one of the reasons we established our first North American technology hub in Chicago in 2022. Situated in the trendy West Loop neighborhood (within walking distance to great restaurants), the office has grown from a 21-employee tech hub focusing on engineering in June 2022 to a global hub of 96 employees with operations and product teams as of June 2023. While its nickname may be “The Second City,” Chicago is second to none in exceptional museums, elite institutions, and, of course, bringing joy to people. Due to those institutions, Chicago is second at producing computer science degrees in the US.  Chicago is world-class, but remains affordable due to its diversified economy (#1 in the US among major cities based on employment). With a 35% lower cost of living than San Francisco and 30% lower than NYC, it’s accessible and down to earth. It also has an extensive and convenient metro system that can get you anywhere.  “In LA, you have to plan your day around traffic. It's been nice to live in a city without a car," says Software Engineer Sana Pagarkar.

Enterprise business, start-up mentality

As a global financial technology platform with over 4,000 employees in 27 offices around the world, Adyen is no start-up. But within the Chicago hub, there is an opportunity to work like you’re at one while also traveling to headquarters in Amsterdam and other global offices.

We take great pride in designing every aspect of our platform in-house to scale with our enterprise customers like Uber, McDonald’s, Spotify, and eBay. The engineering and operational challenges that come with that are immense. How do you onboard hundreds of millions of users onto our platform at scale? How do you issue cards to them? How do you build out internal cloud architecture?

We tackle these challenges quickly and directly, avoiding lengthy planning processes. Our approach hinges on launching fast and continuously iterating.

Lead from the front

Chicago serves as a core strategic hub for Adyen, where we are actively developing global products to meet the needs of our customers, including in-person payment technology. Our goal is to tackle customer challenges head-on and help them gain a deeper understanding of their business. We seek highly technical individuals who are enthusiastic about pioneering innovations in A.I. and M.L. and are customer-centric. We love developing purpose-driven products, not needless technology with no clear plan for addressing a customer need.

At Adyen, you’ll see your contributions have a tangible and immediate impact. We are innovating in the realm of data sciences, actively investing in machine learning models and large language models to address our customers' scaling challenges. We build and launch quickly and acknowledge that failure is an integral part of progress. When our merchants engage with our platform, they invest in our future innovation, a promise we extend to every team member to uphold.

Company culture

After a long career working for major tech companies in Silicon Valley, Software Engineer Ankur Srivastava was ready for a change. He was familiar with Adyen and intrigued to work at a company looking ahead in the payments world. “I worked in payments risk for a long time. It began to feel limiting. I wanted a broader horizon of how the payments industry works,” he says. Since starting, he has been impressed by the openness of his colleagues in both Chicago and Amsterdam to actively listen to his concerns, provide constructive feedback, and support him to the fullest extent. Working on the banking networks team, Ankur is building direct integrations with banks and clearing houses to deliver real time payments that let Adyen offer instant payout solutions to our US customers. Outside of work, Ankur is looking forward to experiencing his first white Christmas after many years in sunny California.

This is the place to be

“Very few large tech companies allow you the freedom to make decisions and experiment. We listen to good ideas regardless of title. Integral to our company values is debating ideas from different perspectives,” says Brigette Korney, Global Head of Risk and Fraud Prevention.

That’s why we couldn’t be more excited to have set up our first North American technology hub in Chicago. The city's ethos fits our culture: committed, humble, and hard-working. It matches with the Midwest mentality; you build things to last. We make products that last for the long term and scale with our customers. This is just the beginning.

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