In addition to expanding our cloud monitoring and security features, Datadog is also rapidly expanding our international footprint. One of Datadog’s great strengths is its globally distributed workforce, which brings together knowledge and experience from diverse teams the world over. We have opened European engineering hubs in Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon, designed to attract skilled engineers from local tech ecosystems for innovative research and products—all while maintaining a fast-paced, high-growth environment that values ownership and technical excellence. Now, we are focusing on accelerating the growth of the Madrid hub because Madrid is home to a wealth of tech talent, which is the engine of Datadog’s continuous growth and innovation.
In this post, we’ll speak with the Madrid hub founder Fernando Mayo on his background, how he leads an autonomous team at Datadog, and the tech boom in Madrid.
The idea for a Madrid office came from Fernando Mayo, Director of Engineering for CI Visibility, who joined Datadog in 2020 through the Undefined Labs acquisition. Fernando and Borja Burgos co-founded Undefined Labs to improve how developers tested applications.
“The cycle of coding, pushing, and waiting for results to come back was slow, flakey, and frustrating,” Fernando says. “And at the time you didn’t have any tools to help you understand what failed—or how.”
They set out to build tools to help developers more efficiently test in their CI cycle and created a product called Scope that provided visibility into the testing process, including why tests failed and whether or not they were flakey. When Fernando and the team joined Datadog, they had to rebuild Scope from the ground up to integrate with the Datadog platform, but the purpose of the product remained the same: to provide pre-production visibility to users. In the end, Scope evolved into what is now Datadog CI Visibility.
“Datadog had focused a lot on production monitoring and visibility for DevOps,” Fernando says. “But they wanted to shift left to include the pre-production development flow in the monitoring suite so that it was more of an end-to-end platform.”
Autonomy—a core piece of the engineering culture at Datadog— is embodied in “ownership and impact”, a tenet that describes how Datadog champions engineers to identify and propose an idea or an improvement, then own the process of building it, shipping it, and running it.
This principle bore out in Madrid, where the Undefined Labs team has continued to operate autonomously at the Madrid office, building and delivering on the mission of shift-left observability. Their main focus is the Software Delivery suite of products, specifically features such as Static Analysis (with the acquisition of Codiga), Quality Gates, Intelligent Test Runner, and other upcoming new features and products.
Fernando says he had a good sense of what to expect from the acquisition due to his acquaintance with Datadog since its beginnings, as he had built another company in New York at the same time with the same investors. He says he knew Datadog’s engineering culture had been shaped to be like a bigger start-up, where the founders are still there and want to take risks.
“The mindset was: we haven’t achieved anything yet, and each success is just another step along the way,” Fernando says. “We’re still growing, we’re still investing, we’re still making bets. Sometimes they will work and sometimes they will fail, but we’re not here just to optimize our cash flow or optimize for sales."
At the same time, working under the Datadog umbrella allowed Fernando to focus on the product and leave the rest to the expansive team backing them. “There were a lot of things we didn’t have to do on our own,” Fernando says. “For example, we could deploy to different cloud providers and data centers across the world because Datadog already had the systems and the platform to do so."
With more infrastructure came more responsibility. Fernando says that once they were a part of a bigger team, the stakes became higher.
“It was no longer a scrappy system that can work for dozens of customers,” he says. “We joined Datadog and immediately had thousands of customers, so we had to make sure everything was scalable and secure from the get-go. Once we were generally available, Datadog helped us with marketing, sales, and reaching a broader customer base."
Joining a big company hasn’t prevented the Madrid team from maintaining Undefined Labs’ autonomy of mission and purpose. “We kept the autonomy of making our own product decisions and even engineering decisions in CI Visibility,” Fernando says. “How are we going to package this? What is the pricing model? Of course, we discussed all this with the executive team at Datadog, but they gave us a lot of autonomy around making our own decisions.”
Being from Spain, both Fernando and Borja knew that there were a lot of very talented people in Madrid but not a lot of great engineering opportunities where someone could work on challenging problems with state-of-the-art technology at high scale. “I knew that if we gave Spanish engineers the opportunity they would be super engaged, which is harder to get in more saturated markets like New York and San Francisco,” Fernando says. “We saw Madrid as a differentiator for us.”
In 2023, Madrid ranked second among global cities for the number of start-up offices founded by unicorns. Additionally, Madrid experienced a 24 percent increase in the number of early stage investment rounds and a 12 percent increase in total investment. “There are more and more opportunities and more people relocating to Spain for these opportunities, so Datadog is in a good position to attract this talent.”
Like everything else at Datadog, the Madrid office is rapidly expanding. When Fernando and his team joined Datadog, it was an eight person office. Now, there are 40 people on different teams, like application security, internal platform teams, and APM. “We’re going to be more than 50 before the end of the year and we are already looking for a new bigger office,” Fernando says. “It’s starting to become a little hub that hopefully grows into a more established engineering hub."
Having an international team is a strength that broadens everyone’s knowledge base. At Datadog, Fernando says that having access to people working on unique challenges in cities around the world is invaluable. “You can talk to people in Paris or New York that have been working at super high scale for a long time and you don’t have to move in order to get exposed to that knowledge and that talent.”
We are focused on supporting Datadog’s Madrid office as our third engineering hub in Europe alongside Paris and Lisbon. Working with Madrid’s talented tech professionals enables us to develop new features that improve our platform and advance our commitment to delivering a best-in-class customer experience.
If you’re interested in joining us, you can check out our career openings here.