Nilanjana Bhowmik is fostering innovation for the next generation of entrepreneurs

Renee Morad

Nilanjana Bhowmik for SEEMA. SEEMA Magazine. Fostering innovation. TiE Boston. Converge.vc. SEEMA for STEM

TiE Boston supports entrepreneurs throughout their lifecycle, from ideation and creation to growth, wealth creation and support of future founders. When TiE Boston neared its 20th year in operation, Nilanjana Bhowmik, the first female and current president, saw an opportunity to set it on a trajectory to thrive in new ways that aligned with the needs of the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

“That’s the journey we are on now, and we feel good about the milestones we are hitting every day, Bhowmik said.

The most challenging—and rewarding—aspect of Bhowmik’s role is stretching every dollar of revenue for maximum impact. “It’s a not-for-profit, but we treat it like a business—we set clear metrics and milestones and push ourselves to meet them.”

Bhowmik is also co-founder of Converge, a Boston-based venture firm that focuses on business and industrial automation technologies. The firm takes lead investment positions, take board seats and work closely with founders to get them from an idea stage to early customers and revenue traction.  

 

“Typically, follow-on investors join us in future investment rounds to build further from there. It’s a very long-term business, so we need to be quite milestone-oriented,” she explained. “When our portfolio companies win and succeed, it is quite rewarding.” 

 

Converge has the longevity and experience in the venture business to have seen many of the challenges young companies run into, so it guides them through it using that experience.

As for the most valuable lesson Bhowmik has learned from her entrepreneurial journey: It’s all about the people. She looks for people with high integrity and high resilience, and that remains the same whether she is investing in them or working with them.

She also found that when starting a company, “there is no end destination, it’s a lot of sprints and marathons. Anything worth building is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight. Therefore, it’s about the journey.”

Before aspiring entrepreneurs begin their own journey, Bhowmik encourages them to ask “Why am I doing this?” This question is the only question that matters and needs to be repeated throughout the journey, according to Bhowmilk. 

Bhowmik feels very fortunate to be an Indian woman in business. “I was born and raised in India, so India is in me,” Bhowmik said. “I am also a product of a Western education and an entirely Western work experience, that is also in me. I feel extremely fortunate to have this duality, I believe it has made me a wiser person, intellectually and humanly.”