Populate was founded by Álvaro Ortiz & Fernando Blat in 2015. We have been working together for more than 20 years in different contexts: offering innovation & business consultancy to corporates; creating online spaces for millions of users; defining and launching startups; organizing events and participating in communities.

We build digital products for fun & some profit in a cozy environment: a small, effective team that delivers pragmatic ideas & solutions.

Our roots are in user centered design. We take pride on coming up with polished user experiences, which usually means giving users only what they need and no more in the moment they need it.

World is complex: digital products should get out of the way and provide calm and enlightning experiences.

We help you with strategy, research, design, implementation, communication.

We use data visualization as a tool to give context and allow the quick understanding of complex issues.

We take pride in being pragmatic, honest, and direct.

We use Ruby on Rails as our go-to web development framework. We have used it since 2005 (damn, almost 20 years).

We have tried alternatives along the years but we have come to firmly believe that there is a lot of value in having a long history with your tools, especially if its one which after so many years is in better shape than ever and keeps delivering.

When a full-stack development framework is not needed we enjoy working with static site generators such as Jekyll or some of the other more hyped alternatives.

We enjoy doing things we haven’t done before and getting out of our comfort zone. Impostor syndrome anyone?

Explore, research, read, try, test, learn.

Have any challenge around people, tech, participation, design? Share it with us and see if our approach makes sense.

Asking the right questions is probably the most important super power to have in any aspect of life. Digital product building is no exception. Asking the appropriate questions alone defines most of what you need to build, what and how you need to offer to your public.

Should we define our job as question-answering artisans? We might. With a little web development knowhow.

Our methodology: question driven development.

One of the greatests risks when designing and building tech is the scope. Writing down a list of requeriments is easy and satisfactory (look at how many ideas I have come up with!).

But implemeting all those things on a reasonable amount of time is a challenge, specially when you have not much insight other than research or intuition of what users finally will use.

What is the right amount of work something deserves? This is the question we try to answer when facing a project.

Its a balance between functionality, needed effort, possible reward, and getting the enough information to learn and plan the next iteration.

We don’t like the “sprint” terminology. This is not a race. And anyhow, you can’t be sprinting all the time. We enjoy exploration.


Actuable, 1 million activists in one year We created Actuable, the petitions portal which grew to +1 million members in less than a year since launch. We deployed the first version within 3 weeks and we evolved the project until it was acquired by Change.org, world leader.

Irekia, open government pioneers in Spain We were part of the team that conceptualized and defined Irekia, a pioneer open government portal created by the Basque Country in Spain. We developed the interaction model that articulated citizen participation facilitating processes, information architecture, and tools.

AbreDatos, biggest spanish open data hackathon We organized AbreDatos, the biggest open data hackathon in Spain. We started up the event with a team of volunteers from idea to execution. We engaged hundreds of participants, along with private companies and public administrations.

La Coctelera, a huge community We created what was the biggest blogging community in Spain and Latin America when blogs thanks to a tool designed with the user in mind, and not as technical as what was the norm at the time (around 2005).

We love the web. It enables great and weird ways to share, learn, connect. We enjoy tinkering with web tech. We love hipertext. We wonder about the challenges that data, tech, and AI brings to our society.

As many, we are trying things with generative AI and LLMs. And thinking what human intelligence means in the context of this new artificial intelligence. And questioning if we are as intelligent as we think we are.

Or about how LLMs are and will develop emergent behaviour, and how different is that from the elements that characterizes human intelligence.

Don’t worry, we won’t make you talk to a chatbot.

Do you have a project you think we might help with? Tell us: what you need, when, how we fit in, what is your budget range…


+34650552940 – Álvaro Ortiz

C/ Meléndez Valdés, 47 28015 Madrid Spain

If life was one day

¿Qué comemos en Madrid, y de donde viene?

1877-2011: Cómo hemos cambiado

Solicitar grandes cantidades de datos de la API

Presentamos Populate Data

Cómo construir una pirámide de población con Populate Data y D3

Developing a website in Wordpress in 2018, the icij.org case

CKAN: Automating deploys

Cómo introducirte en el mundo del open source si eres estudiante (y ganar puntos para conseguir tu primer trabajo)

Gobierto, the open government platform

How we work

Populate 2016: A year in review

How we did Continent of Secrets, a project for ICIJ supported by the Pulitzer Center

Working efficiently with Spanish geographical entities

Using ElasticSearch as a super fast structured data storage in Populate projects

España en Cifras, a data journalism project by Populate