M34 Capital was founded by Errol Arkilic, Jim Hornthal, Steve Blank, and Tom Baruch. Our team brings over 60 years of collective entrepreneurial and investment experience.
Errol Arkilic, Founder and CEO
Errol is the Chief Executive Officer for M34 Capital. Before co-founding the company, Errol was the founding and lead program director for the NSF I-Corps program. He led the I-Corps effort from its inception until July 2013. Previously, he was the lead software and services Program Director for the NSF SBIR program. Before his government service, Errol was founder and CEO at StrataGent Lifesciences and Manager of Product Engineering at Redwood Microsystems. Errol is also a founder of USRCA, a non-profit that focuses on entrepreneur education for science and engineering graduates. Errol earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from George Washington University and a Masters and Ph.D. degree in Aero/Astro Engineering from MIT.
Jim Hornthal, Founder and Chairman
Jim is a parallel entrepreneur, angel investor, entrepreneurship educator, and a Lester Center Fellow for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. His private investment fund, Hornthal Investment Partners, has made investments in over 50 early stage companies. Jim is the co-founder and Chairman of Triporati, Zignal Labs, and LaunchPad Central. He sits on several boards, including KIND Snacks, Revinate, Via.com and One Voice. Jim has taught the Lean LaunchPad and I-Corps courses at UC Berkeley, Stanford, UCSF and Princeton, and is the author of the TED Book “A Haystack Full of Needles.” Jim earned a BA in Economics from Princeton University (Cum Laude), and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar.
Tom Baruch, Founder
Tom Baruch is the Founder of Formation8 Partners. Tom formed CMEA Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in energy, IT, life science companies, in 1988 with New Enterprise Associates. Earlier in his career, Tom worked at Exxon Mobil for 12 years, eventually leaving as President of the Exxon Materials Division. After Exxon, Tom founded Microwave Technology, Inc. where he served as CEO for 6 years before founding CMEA Capital, a fund with $1.2 billion under management. Currently, Tom serves as Chairman of the Board of Codexis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDXS) and Intermolecular, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMI). He also currently serves on the boards of CNano Technologies, Foro Energy and Wildcat Discovery Technologies. Tom is a member of Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), where he advises the U.S. Department of Commerce and the White House on science and technology innovation, a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Council of Competitiveness, and a member of the Steering Committee of its ESIS (Energy, Security, Innovation and Sustainability) Initiative and the U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative. He is also a member of the “Brain Trust” of the ARPA-E program within the U.S. Department of Energy. Tom holds a JD from Capital University and a BS degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Steve Blank, Founder
Steve Blank has had a 36-year career as a successful entrepreneur and educator. Steve has been a founder or participant in eight Silicon Valley startups. His last startup, E.piphany, was in enterprise software. His other startups include two semiconductor companies (Zilog and MIPS Computers), a workstation company (Convergent Technologies), a supercomputer firm (Ardent), a computer peripheral supplier (SuperMac), a military intelligence systems supplier (ESL) and a video game company (Rocket Science Games). Steve’s book about building early stage companies: Four Steps to the Epiphany launched the Lean Startup movement. His next book, The Startup Owners Manual became the standard handbook for how to start a company. Since 2000, Steve has been part of the entrepreneurship faculty at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia University and UCSF. His Lean LaunchPad class, modified for the NSF Innovation Corps and the National Institute of Health, has become the standard for experiential entrepreneurial education.
Monika Auger, Associate
Monika Auger joined M34 Capital in November 2016 and works closely with seed-stage founders across a wide array of technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, and Machine Learning. She also supports the entrepreneurs within M34’s portfolio to build sustainable business models for their technical breakthroughs and turn their ideas into successful companies in the marketplace. Prior to M34 Capital Monika was a multimedia reporter and producer for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered a range of topics, including science, technology, and business. Monika holds an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University and is currently an MBA candidate at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Ariela Morgenstern, Executive Assistant
Ariela Morgenstern is the Executive Assistant for M34 Capital. In this role she helps run daily operations to support M34’s investment efforts, and brings more than twelve years of administrative experience to the team. Ariela is also a presence and presentation coach and uses her stage experience to help our portfolio companies. She is a certified executive coach with the Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute at the Haas School of Business, and teaches storytelling and leadership communications at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, UC Davis Graduate School of Management, as well as with private companies with BECI in the Bay Area. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance and Theatre from U.C. Santa Cruz, and is passionate about using vocal technique and the tools of the actor as a bridge to the business world to enable anyone to be more authentically present and vibrant.