Christopher Michel is an American investor, entrepreneur and photographer. He is the founder of Affinity Labs and Military.com and runs Nautilus Ventures, a seed venture fund. In 1999, he founded Military.com, an online portal for servicemembers, veterans and their families. In 2006, Michel founded Affinity Labs, which runs a portfolio of online professional communities. The first, launched in March 2007, was PoliceLink.com. Both Military.com and Affinity Labs were purchased by Monster Worldwide.
Nautilus Ventures portfolio companies include Palantir, RelateIQ, GoodReads (Amazon), Castlight Health, Alliance Health, 3D Robotics, Blue Bottle, Peek, Tinker, Scripted, Sparks, Relay, Doctor On Demand, Ne Timeas, Madison Reed, Course Hero, Verbify, CR Reality, Chegg, Flour & Water, Park Tavern, Ruby Ribbon, The Cavalier, Informedika, Samovar Tea, etc.
Michel serves as a Director of International Data Group, Dale Carnegie, Tugboat Yards, Kixeye, 3D Robotics and Castlight Health. He previously served on the boards of the USO, U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), the USS Arizona Memorial Fund, the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, Alliance Health & EZ Board. He was also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School during the 2010-2011 school year.
Michel serves on the oversight committee for the Division on Earth and Life Studies (DELS), one of six study divisions of the National Academies. He is also on the President's Circle of the National Academies. In addition, he's an advisor to the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), the nation's oldest nonprofit investigative news organization, the Oxford Internet Institute (oii) at the University of Oxford, and a variety of other for and non-profit organizations.
Prior to his business career, Michel served as a Naval Flight Officer in the United States Navy. While on active duty, Michel flew as a Navigator, Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander aboard the P-3C Orion aircraft. Following his operational tour, he worked in the Pentagon as Aide to the Chief of the Naval Reserve.
In 2005, Michel's The Military Advantage: A Comprehensive Guide to Your Military & Veterans Benefits was published by Simon & Schuster. He is also one of three protagonists in Bill Murphy's book, The Intelligent Entrepreneur: How Three Harvard Business School Graduates Learned the 10 Rules of Successful Entrepreneurship, published by Henry Holt in 2010. In addition, he was a longtime columnist in Proceedings magazine.
Michel is also a photographer. His collection includes photographs from extreme locations like the South Pole, Everest, The Korean DMZ, Papua New Guinea, and at the edge of space (aboard a U-2 Spy Plane). He's also had the opportunity to photograph a variety of global leaders, including His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama. His photographs can be found online at his gallery, ChristopherMichel. He has also published a number of fine art books, including Monochromatic, Rajasthan, Point 95 and Roof of the World. His work was most recently on display at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. His photojournalism work is prolific and is featured regularly in print and online. In addition, he's also the Editor at Explorers, a site dedicated to adventure travel and a member of the Explorers Club.
Michel earned his commission from the NROTC program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was selected as the distinguished naval graduate. He also holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an honorary doctorate from Tiffin University. Michel was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and serves as a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
- US Naval Institute by Michel on the U-2 Dragon Lady
- Harvard press release on 2010 Entrepreneurs-In-Residence
- Amazon link to the Intelligent Entrepreneur
- When Chris Michel Was The 11th Highest Man on The Planet
- Mayfield funding announcement of Affinity Labs
- Michel article on GigaOm about Outcomes vs Activities
- Michel interviewed by GigaOm about venture equity
- Michel on the History Channel (via YouTube)
- Michel mention in the 2009 University of Illinois Commencement Speech
- Michel column index on Military.com