Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Nilanjana Bhowmik was recorded in March 2018.
Nilanjana Bhowmik, Co-Founder and General Partner at Converge, a new fund started after serving as the long-time General Partner at Longworth Capital. Their focus is B-to-B tech on the East Coast.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s get to know you and your venture capital associations. What is your background. Let’s help our audience of entrepreneurs get to know you.
Nilanjana Bhowmik: It’s a great pleasure to be here. Let me start out with a little bit of my background and how I came to be in venture. I am an engineer by training. I have an undergraduate and a Master’s in computer science. I started my career at a very exciting company here in Boston called Object Design. This was the world’s first object-oriented database backed by NEA and Harvard Management. I joined them as an engineer.
I raised my hand for every job that opened up. I quickly ended up running their entire solutions business. In the meantime, the company had gone public. I ended up owning about a third of the company’s revenue. That was very exciting, but at the same time, I felt that I could learn some more. I got an MBA from INSEAD.
From there, I joined Broadview. I wore multiple hats. We not only ran transactions but some of us who were technical enough also did research, if you will. I was in charge of running all the market maps for enterprise tech that Broadview was very famous for. That was quite an interesting experience, because when you’re in an operating company, your world view is very inside out.
At Broadview, which deals with M&A transactions of hundreds and hundreds of companies, I got to see how value gets created financially. That was a very interesting training ground for what eventually became the third part of my career, which is venture investing with Longworth. I have been doing B2B early-stage investing and very recently, I got together with a long-time colleague and launched a new venture firm called Converge.
There is a very specific phenomena going on here in Boston where there are very high-quality companies that are getting funded. There’s quite a bit of seed capital here. At the same time, the firms that used to historically do Series A have all moved to growth investing. They have become so successful that they have more and more capital under management.
As a result, there is a very big vacuum here for that foundational company-building capital that used to be the role of Series A. Maia and I see a big need for that type of capital to come back to this region. This region is very strong, particularly in B2B given our roots in hard tech. That has led to the creation of the new firm. That’s a very quick synopsis of my background.
Sramana Mitra: Wonderful. Longworth was about a $150 million fund, right?
Nilanjana Bhowmik: The last fund was $125 million.