Heymann and Bhowmik Launch Converge, Boston’s Latest Venture Firm
Boston’s tech investing landscape has changed a lot in the past couple of years, with a wave of new early-stage funds popping up.
That activity continued this week with the unveiling of Converge, a new venture investing firm co-founded and led by Nilanjana Bhowmik and Maia Heymann. Bhowmik (pictured above, right) has been a general partner at Longworth Venture Partners since 2004, while Heymann (above, left) has been a general partner since 2013 at Converge Venture Partners (CVP), which was previously CommonAngels Ventures.
Yes, CVP and the new Converge share part of the same name, but they are separate entities, Heymann says.
“It’s a great name,” she says, when asked why stick with Converge for the new firm. “It conveys the shared journey, which is what entrepreneurship is all about.”
Heymann declined to comment on fundraising for the new firm, but it sounds like it’ll focus on early-stage enterprise technology companies.
So, what does this mean for CVP? Heymann says she will continue to work with the companies she has invested in, and she will also continue making new and follow-on investments from CVP’s most recent fund. That fund totaled about $27 million, but she declined to say how much remains in the pot. (CVP’s other managing director, James Geshwiler, left that firm last year and is now managing director at Catalyze Partners, according to LinkedIn.)
Bhowmik will also continue working with the companies in her current portfolio at Longworth, Heymann says.
“We’ll continue to manage our previous investments and our responsibilities at our prior firms, while starting something new,” Heymann says.
Still, the new Converge shares other pieces of the old—CVP principal Ash Egan and executive administrator and marketing coordinator Naomi Campbell Siok are serving in the same roles with the new firm.
Bhowmik and Heymann have known each other for about 13 years, Heymann says, although their connection stretches further back. When Heymann was the managing director of BancBoston Ventures’ office in Palo Alto, CA, in the 1990s and early 2000s, she read tech market research reports written by Bhowmik, who was working at Broadview (now owned by Jefferies). After Heymann moved to Boston in 2002, she reached out to Bhowmik.
Later, their respective venture firms invested in several of the same companies, including OwnerIQ, Heymann says. Over the years, she and Bhowmik built a relationship filled with “mutual respect and trust.” They eventually decided they wanted to work together more closely.
“The real story here is we were each trying to recruit each other,” Heymann says. “And out of that discussion of trying to recruit each other, we said, ‘Well wait, let’s join together and start our own firm.’”
Between them, Heymann and Bhowmik have cumulatively managed $510 million in venture investments, raised $2 billion in equity capital, and supported 77 companies that got acquired or went public, according to Converge’s website.
Given the lack of women in leadership roles at venture capital firms, Converge is notable for having two women as co-founders and general partners. Other female partners at tech-focused venture funds in the Boston area include Rudina Seseri of Glasswing Ventures, Maria Cirino of .406 Ventures, Katie Rae at The Engine, Nicole Stata at Boston Seed Capital, and Sarah Hodges at Pillar.
Heymann recognizes that as women investing in enterprise tech, she and Bhowmik have “doubled down on male-dominated industries.” “But we don’t think about it that way,” she adds. She and Bhowmik are enterprise tech investors who “happen to be women,” she says.
“We know we look different when we walk in the room,” Heymann continues. “But we didn’t choose each other because each one is a woman, we chose each other because we are each outperformers.”