Nilanjana Bhowmik: Making a Mark in the Male-Dominated Venture Capital Industry

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Nilanjana Bhowmik

In the venture capital industry where all women teams received only 2.2 percent of capital in the United States in 2017, Nilanjana Bhowmik is a rising star and making her mark.

She is founder and general partner of Boston-based venture capital firm Converge. Prior to founding Converge, Ms. Bhowmik was a General Partner at Longworth Venture Partners where she led the firm’s investments in enterprise tech.

Always on the hunt for the bleeding edge, her investments span big data, advanced analytics, storage, software defined networking, cybersecurity and cloud dev-ops. As an investment banker at Broadview (now Jefferies), she led the bank’s research publications of market maps on middleware, application and security software, and honed her ability to assess emerging tech markets with massive potential.

She executed numerous M&A transactions of leading enterprise tech companies. After publishing her graduate dissertation on object-oriented class libraries, Ms. Bhowmik was recruited to Object Design Inc., the leading object-oriented database and INC 500, #1 private Company in 1994. There she held several positions through the company’s fast growth from venture-backed to IPO. She ran the professional services organization for the Americas, and delivered one-third of the company’s annual revenues.

Ms. Bhowmik received her B.Eng. in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology, her M.S. in Computer Science from University of South Carolina, and her MBA from INSEAD.

Laser focused on the long game, she is a distance runner and her portfolio CEOs’ first call, be it at midnight or 6:00 AM.

Nilanjana Bhowmik

INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it.

Nilanjana Bhowmik: I am a Venture Capitalist and my “job” is to back founders of ambitious ideas with capital.  I have been doing this for 15 years and I love every minute of it. I treat each company I back as the start of a journey with the team. Sometimes we are together for a brief few years, sometimes much longer. What is most rewarding is their (and my) transformation during that time.

I recently started a new venture firm Converge with a fabulous co-founder Maia Heymann, in order to invest with greater purpose, and a bigger impact. More about that here.

INE: To which charitable, community and professional groups do you belong and why?

NB: Below are two organizations that do GREAT work for the community, and a cool stat on each:

TiEBoston: Did you know that 60 local startups have graduated from the TiE ScaleUp program in the last 4 years and grown into successful businesses?

Museum of Science:  Did you know that the Museum’s ‘Engineering Is Elementary’ curriculum is introducing STEM to kids in Grades 1-5 in many local public schools?

INE: What are your hobbies and interests?

NB: I can be found running the Minuteman trail most mornings – rain, snow or shine.

INE: In what way do you feel you have positively influenced or served the local community, your company/organization or professional field?

NB: I try to spend each day purposefully at the end of which I can tell myself – I tried to move the needle, a little.  Fostering creativity and achievement with a culture of ownership is at the nucleus of that endeavor. If a company celebrates a win, a great cause adds a donor, or a mentee starts an enterprise, that’s a great day.

INE: What are your favorite books?

NB: This is a love and may take a few pages. Instead, let me list a few contemporary (or near contemporary) authors that I have read a lot of:  Philip Roth, Vargas Llosa, Primo Levi, Elena Ferrante,  Svetlana Alexievich, Dai Sijie, Kobe Abe, AB Yehoshua, JG Ballard, Yukio Mishima, Jean Giono. Hopefully a good mix of the known and not-so-known for your readers.  Literature is a wonderful glimpse into the soul of a people, a culture, a point in time.

INE: Your favorite quotes?

NB: I often quote Churchill to entrepreneurs…  “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts”.

INE: Who inspires you the most?

NB: I draw inspiration daily from life, from history, from literature.   In the most challenging of situations, I can usually find answers in the smile of my daughter, the voice of a friend, a speech by Nehru, or the pages of Tolstoy.

INE: What core values do you try to live by?

NB: Live an examined life.

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