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How steely resolve shaped up Spriha Biswas' path

Spriha Biswas did the unthinkable by dropping out of IIT-Bombay to pursue her passion for designing and building products. The CPO at Augnito is now using that passion to compete against tech giants and is winning

Rajiv Singh
Published: Feb 19, 2024 12:01:17 PM IST
Updated: Feb 19, 2024 12:18:27 PM IST

How steely resolve shaped up Spriha Biswas' pathSpriha Biswas, Chief product officer and head of marketing, Augnito Image: Mexy Xavier; Directed By: Kapil Kashyap; Outfit: Forever New; Earrrings: Bling Thing Store; Shoes: Aldo; Styled By: Zainab Shakir; Assistant Stylists: Mannat Bhalla, Samridh Gupta

 Spriha Biswas | 29
Chief product officer and head of marketing, Augnito

Spriha Biswas is a picture of contrast. She was a national topper in ICSE Class 10 boards in 2011. A self-taught programmer and coder, the girl from the Steel City of Jamshedpur started making products at 15, and won over 150 competitions in painting, writing and debates. She then made it to IIT-Bombay with an all-India rank of 1,720, and after two years of studying metallurgy, the engineering undergrad dropped out. “I had two choices,” says Biswas, 29, who didn’t want an IIT tag for the sake of it. A degree in metallurgy was coming at a price of ignoring her passion and interest in designing and building products. “I could have completed my IIT and ended up being an average engineer,” she says.

Though she did have an option—dropping out of IIT—it was not an easy one. First, the gritty woman was going against the norm, and her track record. A school topper throughout her life and eventually the national topper, Biswas’s move to exit IIT was seen as disastrous by everybody. “Who does it?” was the baffling question. “And how can a brilliant girl like you do it?” triggered a greater sense of shock. Second, Biswas was risking everything just to listen to her heart. “I didn’t want to be an average in something,” she says. “I wanted to excel.” While the sceptics were not wrong in their disbelief, Biswas knew she had what it takes to make it big even without the IIT tag.

And she did prove her mettle. From building applications for over 20 different early-stage startups, including a fitness app to track body movements using Kinect, and an app for India’s first digital microscope, Cilika, Biswas went deep into design thinking and extensively researched, prototyped and tested products and services across India, the Middle East and Africa. But it is her latest stint at Augnito—India’s first voice-based AI for health care professionals—which is bringing her laurels. She became chief product officer in February 2020, and under her leadership, Augnito has built three products, which are used by clinicians at over 350 hospitals and across 20 countries.

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“Our products help clinicians in producing electronic medical records [EMRs] faster and more accurately,” she says. Augnito’s mission, she adds, is to build the most precise voice-based AI (speech recognition and natural language understanding) for clinicians that can assist them in different ways starting with enhancing productivity to eventually augmenting their intelligence.

“Biswas is the driving force behind Augnito,” reckons Rustom Lawyer, co-founder and CEO at Augnito. “She seamlessly blends her fervour for product development with a profound expertise in human-centred design.” 

How steely resolve shaped up Spriha Biswas' path

What is gratifying for the young achiever, though, is not the much-deserved recognition but something else. “Our biggest achievement would be building products that are winning against companies like Microsoft and Amazon,” she smiles.

(This story appears in the 23 February, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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