Somak Chattopadhyay is an expert when it comes to early-stage startups. Having invested or operated in early stage startups in the New York metro area since 1999, he has led investments in a variety of sectors, such as information services, digital media and Software-as-a-Service.
Chattopadhyay is currently a partner at Tribeca Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm that partners with world-class entrepreneurs in New York City.
Prior to joining Tribeca Venture Partners, Chattopadhyay worked for Edison Venture Fund. His responsibilities included sourcing and evaluating investments in the tech-enabled services sector. While there, he launched the firm’s New York office.
Before entering the venture capital industry, he held senior marketing and business development roles at Medtower, a pharmaceutical IT software company, and DealTime, a comparison shopping company that was later acquired by eBay. He started his career by working at Broadview International (now Jeffries) and previously worked as director of the Software and Information Industry Association.
Chattopadhyay earned his BA in mechanical engineering from MIT and an MA from Columbia Business School.
Partner at Tribeca Venture Partners (Founded in 2011)
Information Services, Internet.
Digital Media and Information Services.
Blogs, Twitter & Websites:
On whether or not to pursue something outside your comfort zone: “I do not believe that there is a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Most people genuinely do not have the stomach to pursue a venture that most of their friends and family believe have a high chance of failure. And most risky ventures do fail—luck, timing, personal family decisions and lack of appetite for sustained financial losses play a huge factor in whether a venture succeeds or shuts down.”
On contrarian strategy: “Although many individuals who pursue contrarian strategies will not succeed, those who are successful due to tremendous persistence, self-confidence and a dose of luck and good timing will see enormous returns (either financially and/or through their impact on society).”
On female entrepreneurs: “As an investor, I have noticed that a large percentage of my best deal flow in NYC is now female-led, yet many of these incredibly talented entrepreneurs are not getting the attention they deserve due to gender bias in the tech world. I also believe that in a few years, investing in female entrepreneurs or female VCs will not be contrarian and generate great returns for our industry.”
On confronting bosses: “Although I completely understand risks of being too confrontational, I have found few examples of high performance teams where being silent about something you know is detrimental to the business paid off in the long run. Being silent about an issue means your team is making decisions based upon incomplete and perhaps faulty data. A person’s silence or inability to ‘rock the boat’ also signals implicit acceptance of a strategic decision or behavior.”
On life and death of startups: “Startups and small companies in general have very little room for error—how you weigh in on key decisions, both strategic and tactical, can be the difference between life (growth, profitability, new financing round, launch of new product, landing a key hire) or death (cash running out, investors or employees losing faith, shutting down).”
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