CREAM’s Madrid Office Opening: Behind the Scenes
Following the opening of our new office in Madrid, we have received interest and quite a few questions about the location or the reasons behind this expansion. In this interview format with our founder and CEO, Pierre Gaulis, we cover the main questions related to this event.
When did you open this new Madrid office?
Although we have announced the office opening only recently, we actually opened in January 2023.
Tell us about the process leading up to the opening. How did the idea come up?
Opening this office was actually an overdue project.
We had been thinking about it for a few years prior to COVID, but it was postponed because of the pandemic. As soon as we could resume international travels in 2022, we took the opportunity to get this project back on track.
We started working on it at the end of 2022 and we finalized the opening in January 2023.
The idea behind this office actually dates back a few years, as we have always been working for international companies, mostly between Japan and Europe, the idea of having capabilities in Europe made sense.
We did have a representative office in Switzerland for the past 7 years, but the ambition there was never to be anything more than a sales office. On the other hand, we realized the benefits of having a fully-capable production office in Europe similarly to our Tokyo HQ for our clients. It got us thinking, and that’s how the idea came up.
Why did you decide on Madrid specifically? Were there specific reasons?
We wanted to have an office that can serve as a European office - it could have been in any large European capital. Another strong candidate was Milan, Italy.
We decided on Madrid because it’s a very vibrant and up and coming European capital.
There is a big budding tech community and network, and very promising profiles for the future. There are also very good universities people graduate from as well.
It is also well-connected to the rest of Europe transportation-wise, with infinite possibilities with cool local businesses too.
I also have personal affinities with Madrid, having attended IE Business School in 2012, so we also already had some established network there we could leverage.
Are you currently hiring for the Madrid office?
Yes, we are currently hiring for engineers (Developer positions).
It is possible that we consider hiring for other positions, but development is our priority.
How do you manage the different timezones between Tokyo and Madrid?
One of the roles and benefits we’re getting with both an office in Tokyo and Madrid is having people working on Japan time, and people working on Europe time.
It extends to almost a full day the level of support we can bring to projects and clients for round the clock monitoring and service.
Of course we have to make sure we communicate well so that the two teams can work together as best as they can.
What are the main goals and benefits of opening this new office?
As mentioned, we first hope to first provide round the clock support for projects and clients. But also, we hope to get closer to more international multinationals from Europe and/or work more efficiently with them.
Currently, members in the Madrid office currently work on the same projects together with Japan, we are also hoping to develop local business and work with leading Spanish companies over time.
Of course, we will also be able to better support projects for Japanese companies who wish to go abroad to Europe in particular, in that perspective we have recently joined the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan to engage directly with the community.
Is there any particular Spanish brands that you would imagine working with in the future?
In terms of companies we can think of, based on CREAM’s experience as natural fit we would be firstly looking at fashion brands such as ZARA, Desigual, Mango… or luxury brands such as Massimo Dutti, Lladró, Loewe…to name a few. To be honest since this opening was mostly capabilities driven, we have not been able to scout the market really. We are looking forward to working with any Spanish-linked type of companies either locally or globally.
How about if some team members want to move to another office abroad?
Indeed, thanks to this added location we’re hoping to provide more international mobility to our team members - for example, if members of the Japanese team wish to work temporarily or permanently to Europe, and vice-versa.
In general such exchanges speak very well to our DNA and positioning being the team of choice for all things digital across Europe and Asia.
What languages do you use on a daily basis? Will the Madrid office be a purely Spanish-speaking team?
In general, the people and companies we work with being international, they are mostly capable of working in English. But as we can see in Japan, it is sometimes good to speak the local language for more efficient communication.
We currently have Spanish-speaking members in Madrid who can help for local communication if needs arise but this being said, we assume that most of the day top day operations will keep on happening in English regardless of the location.