Rashed Mujib Noman is the Country Director & Managing Director of Augmedix Bangladesh. Under his direction, Augmedix BD has experienced accelerated growth from a startup to a profitable organisation. His vision is set on continuing this upward trajectory and taking Augmedix and the Bangladeshi ICT sector to new heights.
Please tell us about the journey that led you to become the Country Director and Managing Director at Augmedix BD.
I graduated from BUET in ’97. When I was in my fourth year, I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I started two startups. I wanted to get an MBA from IBA and learn and grow my business. But my parents wished for me to get a PhD and join the faculty at a university. So, after completing one year of an MBA, I left to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of South Carolina. Halfway through, I decided to pursue a master’s degree instead as the job market was good and I had multiple offers.
In the early 2000s, I joined General Motors where I worked for six years until July 2006. I had set a career path for myself – with my mechanical engineering degree I would gain experience in the automotive industry, and then work in aerospace. Along the way, I would complete my PhD and eventually work for NASA. So, in 2006, I joined The Boeing Company where I worked for eleven years. I learned a lot! From engineering to supply chain to project management to customer support and analytics. In my eleven years, I had seven different assignments. In 2017, I was a Senior Manager at The Boeing Company. I had eighty-nine people working for me under seven managers. I was considered to be the next director. That’s when I came to visit Bangladesh, and I became incredibly homesick.
My father was 75 years old, and my mother passed away in 2012. I realised that I hadn’t spent much time with them. So, I started looking for a job in Bangladesh. Call it God’s will, but Augmedix Bangladesh was looking for a country head. Of course, this was not an easy decision for me, but Augmedix had a lot to offer. Augmedix would give me the opportunity to work in the healthcare and tech industry and serve the US, where I had spent half my life, from home where I would get to be with my family. It could not get better than this. That’s how I became the country head of Augmedix Bangladesh.
The core business of Augmedix is medical documentation. Our goal is to help doctors and patients form a connection without the intrusion of technology, and we do this by converting data from doctor-patient conversations into medical notes, so doctors don’t need to worry about note-taking and documentation. We call it rehumanising healthcare.
Under your direction, Augmedix BD has become a highly profitable company. What gap in the market were you able to identify, and how did you plan the roadmap to success?
When I became the country head of Augmedix, the CEO and Founder, Ian Shakil, told me that he was not able to find the right resources to grow the company. So, that was my first mission – to search in the right places to inspire young, motivated people who are good at English communication and are hungry for success. I figured that if I want to attract the right population, I need to offer them a career path.
So, the first thing I did was put together a five-year career plan for a fresh graduate – most MNCs call it a management trainee program. Throughout the five years, they would jump through five levels and become a manager. If somebody is willing to work hard and learn, Augmedix offers a great opportunity.
I also identified that the biggest challenge for employees would be the working hours. At Augmedix, we work at night and many people would not be comfortable with that. So, we decided on an employee-friendly package – complimentary food, transportation, health benefits, and a gym.
People started applying. The hiring process at first was quite difficult. We had to go through almost a thousand candidates to hire twenty. But soon more people learned about Augmedix, and the application process became more streamlined. Still, people were not familiar with the process of becoming an allied medical professional. So we designed a training program. At first, it was a nine-month training program, but we have perfected it over the years down to three months.
When I joined In 2017, we had around seventy people working for us. We now boast an employee count of over seven hundred – a 10x growth in five years, in spite of two years of the pandemic. In December 2021, we were listed on NASDAQ as a public company. This just shows how well Augmedix has matured over the years. We are now gearing up for a 50,000 sq. ft. second location where we can have more people, create more employment opportunities, and provide even better services.
Our goal is to help doctors and patients form a connection without the intrusion of technology, and we do this by converting data from doctor-patient conversations into medical notes, so doctors don’t need to worry about note-taking and documentation. We call it rehumanising healthcare.
Could you please share some of the contributions that Augmedix BD have made in the ICT sector and human resource development in Bangladesh?
For the past few years, the government of Bangladesh has been focusing on growing the ICT sector. I am also a strong believer in that. If we have an enthusiastic young generation, then why not increase our revenue stream from the ICT sector? Augmedix is directly contributing to its growth in this regard. At our core, Augmedix is a technology company. We are also focusing on developing AI-based tools and leveraging data to make the lives of doctors easier. AI processes involve machine learning, which requires a large amount of data management. We have a dedicated team that collects data, then processes, structures, and feeds it into our AI system. This is paving the way for the future of healthcare. So, Augmedix also serves as a business model for Bangladeshi startups to follow. We are a great example for entrepreneurs in the ICT field if they are willing to put in the work and grow a business.
On top of that, Augmedix Bangladesh is an important part of Augmedix, and serves as a BPO company. Our departments, which include HR, finance and accounting, compliance, business support, IT, technical support, customer support, support our US office. So, in terms of human resource development, Augmedix Bangladesh is contributing directly to training and improving the skillsets of the youth across multiple disciplines.
How are you influencing the younger generation to become future entrepreneurs?
Along my career path, I have learned a lot, and one of my goals is to share that with the youth so they can learn as well. I go to different universities and do career talks. I am also on the judging panels of various startup competitions. I have personally mentored 18 startups, and I do it voluntarily. I just want to help them.
Usually, in my career talks, I get asked, “Entrepreneurship or job?” I usually tell people, “Of course, entrepreneurship.” It helps create jobs, and Bangladesh needs it. But, I also tell them that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, it does not hurt to work for a company for a couple of years. Learn the success principles and then apply them to their business. Or, if someone were to start a business from the very beginning, then they must have a mentor. The mentor can guide them so they don’t have to make the same mistakes. I always tell people my failure stories so they can learn from my mistakes. You want people to succeed, but you need to let the people know where they can fail first.
Photographs: Shihab Mohammad