Cristian Barbuia, Modex COO: Patents and regulations add value to innovation

January 27, 2022

Our next guest in the #WeAreModex series of interviews is Cristian, Modex’s Chief Operating Officer. We spoke about his professional journey from banking to the tech industry, about the achievements and challenges, as well as his hobbies: spending time with his family, cooking on weekends and playing tennis.

Cristian started his studies in a small city in the south of Romania, then continued to Bucharest at the University of Economic Studies (accounting and management informatics), where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Banking Audit.

Trading banks for the tech industry

Cristian started working during University when, after an extended two month internship in a branch of a commercial bank, he received the offer for full-time employment. “At the moment I refused because I wanted to finish my studies, but after a few months I gave in to the manager’s insistence and that’s how I worked in that agency for the next 7 months. A bank officer with many operational tasks, but with a lot of passion in everything I did”, recalls Cristian.

After graduating from University, Cristian wanted to return to banking, so he started a career in banking audit. “It was an incredible experience of five and a half years with over 35 audit missions, more than 4 years away from home and several thousand kilometers traveled across the country. It was a huge and continuous effort, but this experience has brought a lot of achievements, friends and has defined my professional profile.”

Cristian adds: “For the next 4 years I made the switch from the audit missions to the IT and organizational projects. I was constantly looking for a more challenging role, as I never liked the comfort zone. Why? It doesn’t give you the opportunity to progress, to learn new things and exceed your limits.”

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A radical career shift: joining Modex

From changing roles within the same company, Cristian went on and changed industries completely. “The opportunity to join Modex came at the beginning of 2018. It was not an easy decision to leave a multinational bank and join a startup of about 25 people, but with bigger dreams and goals than I could ever dare to imagine. Modex changed my way of thinking, it changed how I carried out a task / project with limited resources and especially it improved the speed of accomplishing a task. A startup brings many more challenges than any multinational, but with an accurate and professional execution you can get remarkable achievements“, believes Cristian.

If you are curious to find out what Modex’s COO does daily, here’s what Cristian says: “From the beginning, my role as COO was to organize the team’s work and to optimize the existing processes in order to bring added value in a technology startup. At first glance, I thought it would be easy: 25 people, how long would it take to organize them? But the diversity of topics that reach the Operations department has been great and continues to grow for all the activities governed by this role: project management, finance, legal, HR, and other operational stuff.”

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The challenges and joys of the tech world

We’ve also asked Cristian to tell us about the challenges he had to overcome after leaving the banking sector to join Modex, but also the good moments offered by the tech industry. “Coming from a fully regulated sector like banking, it was a huge challenge for me to work in the direction of regulating and patenting an innovative technology like blockchain that is still associated by many only with cryptocurrencies. Since the beginning, Modex has been one of the few companies that redirected its investments in education, concluded partnerships with prestigious universities in Romania and the European Union and created free online courses for students, business people or developers to discover the benefits of blockchain.”

Modex forges its own path

What does Cristian like the most about Modex? “I like the fact that Modex doesn’t copy a pattern from the market, it doesn’t follow a route chosen by other players from the tech world. Instead, Modex forges its own path, which may hold challenges along the way, but with maturity and professionalism to adapt to a new strategy that disarms the competitors and encourages our team.”

Cristian also reveals how he sees the work environment in our company. “Modex has a unique culture that involves and empowers employees in moving the organization forward and giving them the opportunity to lead initiatives or participate in the decision-making processes. It also encourages work/life balance by offering flexible schedules and will increase investments in training and development of the talents and capabilities of the employees.”

Looking back at his professional career, Cristian wouldn’t change anything. “I would take the same steps because there is no shortcut to success; a lot of work represents the basis for success.”

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