Michael J. Zak
Member, CNAS Board of Directors
Principal Investor, Charles River Ventures
Mike Zak has a total of 23 years of experience as an entrepreneur and early stage venture capital investor.
Since 1991 he has been a principal investor at Charles River Ventures, located in Boston and Menlo Park. In that time he has participated in raising and deploying $2 billion in early stage venture capital and has been involved in the funding of more than 150 companies in global industries such as wireless telecommunications, semiconductors, enterprise software, optical networking, internet infrastructure, and alternative energy. He has acted as a lead investor in numerous projects and managed many of those projects to successful outcomes such as initial public offerings (IPO) or mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Charles River Ventures, Mike was a co-founder of a successful start-up high technology company, backed by venture capital, where he served in various executive roles.
Mike is a 1975 graduate of the College of Engineering at Cornell University. Upon graduation he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and completed numerous Cold War deployments throughout the western Pacific and Europe. He graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA in 1981, after which he held positions at Motorola, Inc., and McKinsey & Company.
Mike has a number of other interests. He is Vice Chairman of the Board at Emerson Hospital (Concord, MA); a member of the Board of Trustees at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY); and a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations as well as the Pacific Council on International Policy. He is active with the Marine Corps University Foundation in developing new approaches to mid-career officer education. And he served on the Advisory Board on Strategic Analysis for the United States Intelligence Community, under the auspices of the National Intelligence Council. At one time, Mike could speak passable Mandarin Chinese.
Recent Publications & News
EventsNew Voices in American Grand Strategy
By Michael J. Zak, Richard Fontaine, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Elbridge Colby, Emma Ashford, Hal Brands, Kate Kizer, Rebecca Friedman Lissner, Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson & Vance Serchuk
EventsMichael J. Zak Grand Strategy Lecture Featuring Robert D. Kaplan
By Robert Kaplan, Michael J. Zak, Richard Fontaine, Victoria Nuland & Loren DeJonge Schulman