Annual Report 2020
Message from the CEO
Staying the course
In preparation for this note, I read last year’s message. It was a synopsis of the previous decade and what it meant for Adyen. Little did I realize at the time that we were on the precipice of great change to all of our lives. COVID-19 has dominated the last year, also for Adyen.
The week that the news of the pandemic broke through into the mainstream feels like a long time ago now. I remember we quickly pivoted from ‘wait and see’ to ‘this requires immediate attention and action’. Not a week went by between our first discussion on the topic and sending everyone home indefinitely.
It was a shock for everyone. We’ve built a culture over the years of using each other to sharpen our ideas — and we saw early on that it’s much easier to walk to someone’s desk than it is to give each other a call. It took us a while to find our groove, ensuring everyone had a comfortable working-from-home set-up, and helping each other prioritize between work and life commitments.
On a positive note, one of the most remarkable things we noticed quickly is that once everyone on the team was separated by screens, colleagues from around the world actually felt a lot closer. Replacing face-to-face interactions with Zoom meetings felt like an equalizer. It no longer really mattered whether you were in Amsterdam or in Singapore, which made discussions much more inclusive. Discussing a matter face-to-face in Amsterdam is limiting in that sense — in the current environment everyone can just ‘click in’ team members from around the world on Zoom.
The pandemic also made us realize how global our scale is at this stage. COVID-19 didn’t hit equally everywhere, we saw our China team return to the office, and to travel, as houseplants in European offices went weeks without water during the first wave in Europe. There is no single shared reality of what the pandemic has meant to our teams around the world.
The business didn’t lose much momentum, despite this drastic shift. We have a long-term horizon, we continued to recruit new team members, and our data centers run remotely. Business as usual for us is adapting to changing circumstances. Naturally, there were some initial delays in the rollout of projects, mostly on the merchant end, but nothing that significantly impacted the business. This is also why we chose to shift to quarterly reporting for the year, something that is not part of our long- term approach, to provide transparency around the resilience of the business during a crisis. We continued to win new business, and to grow, also in this new environment.
While our own business proved highly resilient during the pandemic, our merchants’ realities were often very different. The initial impact of COVID-19 resulted in many sobering conversations. For some sectors - e.g. in-store retail or airlines - the difference was night and day. We made sure to keep our focus on helping our merchants in these segments, as businesses took a nosedive there — with no end date in sight.
That’s a topic that we kept front of mind too: the lack of an end date to the pandemic’s impact. The danger in a situation like this is to focus on a set end date, only to be left disappointed when it inevitably shifts. During this crisis, we focus on our merchants’ problems, on our team’s mental health and getting out of this as a stronger team — no matter when that end date will come. This pragmatic approach allows us to keep our speed while the world around us is changing — we went online and operated as if we had always run the company that way, and will be able to for as long as we need.
Of course I miss being around the team too. Bumping into people, traveling to different Adyen offices around the world and meeting our merchants. It’s an important part of what made the job so much fun — that energy. That’s something I hear back from many people too, which makes me confident that we will succeed in coming out of this as a stronger team.
This past year, a year in which, paradoxically, words like new normal became ubiquitous, was decidedly abnormal. Now, with vaccine roll-outs across the globe, we are still approaching this as if the end is not yet near, but I am willing to say that I’m optimistic about the upcoming year and what it will bring for Adyen.
We’ll stay the course, as we did this past year, and continue to adapt to the world around us.
Profitable growth amid global pandemic
Well-diversified merchant base contributing to business resilience
Acceleration of merchants opting for a unified commerce solution
Launched IdentityRisk, Network Token Optimization, and mobile Android POS devices
Staying connected as a global team
Scaling the team to 1,747 FTE in 24 offices in line with our long-term growth approach
Prioritizing work flexibility and mental health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
Onboarding new hires while focusing on the Adyen Formula to safekeep the culture
Positively contributing to planet and society
Offsetting our CO2 emissions by supporting environmental sustainability projects
Volunteering globally to provide essential supplies to those in need
Our checkout product feature, Giving, processing donations globally
Navigating the global regulatory landscape
Helping our merchants accommodate to the ever-increasing complexity in the regulatory landscape
Scaling the compliance and integrity functions to support our growth in a complex regulatory space
Announced Alexander Matthey as CTO and Caoimhe Keogan to join the Supervisory Board