Describing herself as a hybrid at the crossroad between marketing and engineering, Magda is an example of what one can achieve when they follow their heart and intuition with passion and grit. Founder at House of Progress, a data engineering and advertising agency, Magda works on growing online businesses by refining their marketing strategies – she turns data into information, information into actionable insight and consequently, insight into revenue.
Following her quest of giving back to the world and highly involved in the tech community, Magda has been a pioneer by bringing for the first time in Romania the concept of Measure Camp, an international, free-to-attend unconference dedicated to digital analytics specialists.
Having worked with more than 70 online businesses from the US, Canada, Europe, Israel such as United Nations, European Institute Of Technology, Creative Tim, KnightsbridgeFX or LiveStyled, Magda has been featured on Smart Insights, Econsultancy as well as in the 2020 Forbes Romania 30 under 30 Top.
Born in a quiet village in Neamt, Romania, she was significantly motivated by her parents’ dynamics who were dedicated, hard-working and always strived to provide her with the best they had to offer. Bearing in mind the image of a successful entrepreneur, Magda pursued Business Administration at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iasi where she obtained a study grant in Belgium.
Finding it of great importance to keep pace with the state of the art and the latest innovation opportunities, Magda has recently graduated the Artificial Intelligence course at Oxford University, therefore enhancing her scientific know-how in one of the greatest tech pillars nowadays.
Between her grown-up duties and her hobbies in learning genetics, understanding psychology, doing exercise and watching pandas, “she doesn’t have much time left for the latest movies”. “Throw a Harry Potter her way – and super-educated Magda won’t get it at all” is her funny bio you can find on the website of her company.
“It was the small events that paved my trajectory.”Magda Baciu
Looking back, Magda acknowledges that she has cultivated an enterprising sense from a very young age. For example, one relevant episode that she dearly reminisces is her baking clay sweets and selling them afterwards to her imaginary friends. As vice-president of “The Local Youth Council” during high-school, she used to be responsible for organizing, fundraising and promoting their latest initiatives.
During university, she co-founded her first business – “Washescu”, a laundromat-hub designed especially for students. The idea sparked her mind while returning from her stay in Belgium where she had ingeniously remarked a business model whose time efficiency could be easily scaled by merging more services at the same location: laundry washing and hairdressing services, together with workspace.
Hence, fueled by her unwavering enthusiasm, she found a business partner, Lucian Drobota and an investor, Cristina Bitlan, founder of Musette. In retrospection, she describes this experience as life-changing, as Magda was deeply inspired by the patience, kindness and wisdom that Cristina was radiating.
Washescu is still functioning to this day, although Magda exited it after only one year, in 2014. It was then that she felt that her goal was to raise business in the online area.
Even though she underwent a period of uncertainty, struggles and long nights striving to define her next steps, as well as explore and discover what her mission was, it all eventually made sense when she approached the online marketing side in addition to the analytics and statistics, proceeding to build House of Progress.
What Magda enjoys most at Aspire:
It’s a vibrant community where everyone has a big dream and works towards it day in day out. Aspire brought so many meaningful friendships and inspiration to my life and I’m grateful for it.
1) If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Entrepreneurship is challenging especially in the first 2 years.
But find the fun bits in it, there are plenty!
As an ambitious – active person, you are inclined to hurry up everything, and you’ll compromise holidays, weekends and sometimes nights. And I did that for the first 4 years too.
But I recommend developing patience and empathy too. Put time aside to nurture yourself and the people around you. You are like a battery and it’s so powerful to understand what recharges you and you need to recharge yourself. I have never experienced burnout and it was due to being aware when I need to recharge and how.
2) What are your non-negotiables?
Respect, kindness, honesty, support.
3) What was the biggest challenge that you have faced until now as en entrepreneur?
What people to hire and when. Especially at the beginning because it’s like a nucleus that sets up the rhythm.
4) What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
When I started the business, I was mostly focusing on the skills when hiring, not that much on values, attitude, long term goals, mistakes that hit hard a few times.
Letting go of people that you really appreciate but are not good for the long-term development of the company was by far the most challenging task on my list.
Fortunately, I can say that after 4 years I’m a good HR specialist too.
5) Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
At the beginning it was only me there.
Finding clients. Delivering. Learning. Fine tuning the mission. Understanding finance.
And many other things.
It was overwhelming.
Happily, I understood early it’s a matter of keeping the “battery” charged and being aware of what charges it.
I think that my superpower is that I’m aware when I need to stop working and shift from working to relaxing and the other way around very fast.
And that’s why I rarely feel stressed.
6) What is that one book that has influenced you the most?
I found the “Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” very insightful and inspiring.
7) Why should people apply for an Aspire experience? What did you gain by being part of this community?
Aspire – it’s the community I got the most value from.
You’ll meet brilliant people from all over the world, from specialists who advise country presidents around the world to inspiring people who lead think tanks and people with whom you’ll build lifelong relationships.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”Dalai Lama