40 Under 40: Ria Kapila, Magnify

Ria Kapila left Microsoft after more than three years to join a startup because she was drawn to the "exhilaration of the challenge."

40 Under 40: Ria Kapila, Magnify

Ria Kapila worked at Microsoft, Amazon and Magnify before moving to Seattle in 2022.

To leave a comfortable corporate job and dive into the unknown world of startups, you need to have an adventurous spirit. Kapila's next career move was exactly what she wanted.

The typical day of the Magnify Head of Product is not even close to describing her work. Magnify bills itself as an orchestration platform for post-sales.

She says, "It is exciting because you can do everything." "I like that I can play different parts."

Kapila explains that her Indian upbringing was marked by an adventurous spirit, and a thirst for knowledge.

Ria Kapila

You're sure that your dad's education has had a big influence on you.

He used to walk 14 km one way to school and 14 km back. He told me many stories about his walking to school for many years. The village had no electricity, so it used to be a hub for the entire village. There was only one large tree. It's something you might have seen in old movies, especially Indian movies. The village center has a tree with only one lamp and streetlight. He and two of his friends would sit and study there all night. They have to do housework in the morning and walk to school, then back again to help with housework.

When did landing an internship as a technologist in the U.S. become your goal for coming here?

My school did not have computers. My dad's home office was where I first encountered computers. I was so fascinated. I was like, "I can draw on it, play games, and, when the Internet came along, I could read books." It was my first experience. My dad taught typing to me. He taught me to type in shorthand, too, on the typewriter. Because he said, "If you want to use the computer, first you have to know the shorthand." We'll practice every day, and then he will teach me how to use the computer. I saw that machine and thought, "I'm going to do this in the future."

What attracted you to a startup after about three-and-a-half years working for Microsoft?

The challenge itself is more exciting. It was the excitement of the challenge that got me to try it in this way. There were many options for me to make more money, even by joining a late stage startup. It's like working for a larger organization as a leader of a business unit, right? It's always like: OK, what are you going throw at me today? Let's get started. Get your hands dirty and do it. You might not be able to do it as part of your job description. You think, "I have to figure this out since I wear many hats."

You're a teenager and you write secret love letters.