About

Who We Are

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We are a seasoned team of professionals with decades of investment experience from a wide range of industries.

 

Argonautic Ventures is comprised of seven funds, each managed by managers across several verticals and geographies.

Our fund is built upon a legacy of strong industry relationships and a track record of success in the venture and hedge fund industries. Our deep knowledge of industry-specific market dynamics provides our entrepreneurs with strategic support as they scale their businesses.

View Institutional Advisors | View Co-Investors Network

 

Our Team

+ Howard Liu - Founder & Managing Partner

Howard began his career at Swiss Bank Corporation Warburg Dillon Read (now UBS) on the Precious Metals Structured Products desk’s proprietary metals book. Howard traded derivatives specifically Index and Interest-rate futures for the 2 largest proprietary trading firms: Generic LLC and the Carlin Financial Group (acquired by RBC and now RBC Carlin). He then managed a book of assets for The AXA Group (#25 on 2017 Fortune 500) before launching Variance Venture Partners in 2014 and Argonautic Ventures in 2016. Howard’s venture and hedge fund network spans the globe and has forged elite relationships with the microcap venture community and on-trend vertically-focused funds. Argonautic leads the enablement of highly-developed customized asset allocation strategies defined by coupling vertical with stage, duration, risk and liquidity preferences. Howard’s focus is continuing to build fund partnerships with venture-based leaders in cutting-edge industries and sectors including emerging markets like Israel and Africa and hedge fund based leaders in crypto economics, game theory and the creation of crypto-based derivative trading instruments. Howard attended New York University’s Stern School of Business.

+ Viken Douzdjian - Founding Partner

Viken is a technology-focused investor with over $1.2 billion of transaction experience. He served as COO at VC-backed cannabis compliance software start-up, Trellis, and scaled the business to serve clients globally. Prior to Trellis, he was an investment professional at Marlin Equity Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm. Viken evaluated platform and add-on investment opportunities and worked closely with management teams to ensure growth and value initiatives are being implemented effectively. While at Marlin, Viken specialized in restructurings and complex corporate carve-outs of technology and technology-enabled services companies. Prior to Marlin, Viken worked in the M&A technology group at Wells Fargo's Investment Bank in San Francisco where he focused on software, hardware, Internet and semiconductor verticals. He specialized in Mergers and Acquisitions, Debt Financings, and Strategic Advisory. Viken earned a Bachelor of Arts in Financial Economics from Claremont McKenna College, where he graduated with honors and as a Bill Gates Investments Fellow. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Claremont McKenna College's Financial Economics Institute.

+ Michael Kime - iSelect Fund

A founding architect of iSelect Fund, Kime was a partner at AEGIS Professional Services prior to joining iSelect Fund. He has more than 20 years’ of complex corporate transactional experience including public and private equity and debt offerings. Prior to joining AEGIS he served as the COO and General Counsel for Cleantech Biofuels. Throughout his career, Mr. Kime has performed legal advisory services for start-up companies from full-service law firms including Thompson Coburn, LLP and Suelthaus & Walsh.

+ Carter Williams - iSelect Fund

Carter was Founder and Director of Boeing Ventures where he led Boeing’s technology strategic process. Carter served as President of Gridlogix until it was successfully acquired in 2008. An active investor and advisor to early-stage companies, Carter led Progress Partners, an energy and technology investment banking practice, was a Managing Partner at Open Innovation Ventures and a Director at Clayton Capital Partners. Carter is the past President and Founder of the MIT Corporate Venturing Consortium and Co-founder of the MIT Entrepreneurship Society and has an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School. Carter’s elite network spans to include those that shape both innovation and policy from the former CEO of Genentech to the first Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (U.S. Department of Agriculture) to the Director of the American Council on Renewable Energy to executives from the US Aerospace and Defense communities. Carter currently runs the iSelect Fund out of St. Louis Missouri, the “Silicon Valley of Agriculture Technology” and has been the forefront leader in backing prolific leaders in genome editing CRISPR technology for crop analytics to companies focused on immunotherapy, neuromodulation, integrin inhibitors and anticonvulsants.

+ Craig Herron - iSelect Fund

Craig was a Principal of Clayton Capital Partners, a leading boutique, middle market investment banking firm, where he focused on high growth businesses in the healthcare, energy and technology sectors. In addition to 14 years in M&A and corporate finance, Craig has held numerous operating positions including Vice President of Operations for Marcone Supply, the largest distributor of appliance parts in North America; Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Vice President of Business Development for SportsHuddle, a venture-backed, SaaS provider of sports data and information to the newspaper industry; Director of Marketing for Aurora Foods, whose brands included Duncan Hines and Aunt Jemima, among others; and Business Development in Europe and South America for Anheuser-Busch International, the world’s leading brewer. Craig also ran his own consulting firm, Venture Strategy & Services, focused on providing strategic advice to large corporations such as Boeing and Ameren on their corporate venturing activity. Craig has an MBA from the Darden School of Business and a BS from the McIntire School of Commerce, both at the University of Virginia, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

+ Harrison Hines - CEO, Terminal

Harrison is the founder and CEO of Terminal, a platform that provides access to a suite of tools, smart contracts, interfaces, data & analytics, third-party apps & integrations. Prior to Terminal, he founded and served as CEO of Token Foundry. Harrison began his career as Head of Sales and Product Development at Enterprise Technology Research before joining The GIG Ltd, a Venture Capital and Principal Investment Firm based in Zug, Switzerland. Harrison was a Venture Capitalist at SeedInvest, a leading equity crowdfunding platform birthed out of the Jobs Act of 2012 that created crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the principal force that has pushed the crypto token economy into the spotlight. Harrison was key in its development. In 2017, Harrison was recruited by Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys to co-create Token Foundry and work on the Brooklyn Project in shaping law and protocol with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Harrison has access to the Ethereum Core Developer group, the members of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance and sees all US West Cost and East Coast token projects. Harrison received a full scholarship from the University of Delaware.

+ James Slazas

James is a co-founder of Darma Capital, a Blockchain digital asset investment fund and a Puerto Rico Social Impact fund. Additionally, James is the Co-Head of Capital Markets at ConsenSys, one of the largest Blockchain companies in the world. Darma Capital leverages ConsenSys’ global thought leadership and broad technical Blockchain IP to provide institutional investors professionally risk managed exposure to digital assets. James’ 30+ years of experience started on the derivative exchanges in Chicago and Paris until joining Lehman Brothers, where he managed a proprietary arbitrage book of derivatives, made markets in OTC equities/warrants/options, and created a global risk management group for the Private Client division, encompassing the credit exposure of Lehman’s London, Hong Kong and Swiss banks. Later, James co-founded September Investors, a hedge fund investing in longevity risk through life settlements and premium financing. James advises a broad spectrum of financial institutions including investment banks, regulatory agencies, exchanges, pension funds, and hedge funds on Blockchain strategy.

+ Aubrey Hruby - Tofino Capital

Aubrey Hruby is a Co-Founder of Insider, the Africa Expert Network (AXN) and an advisor to investors and Fortune 500 companies doing business in Africa. With 18 years working in over 30 African markets, Aubrey sources opportunities and facilitates transactions. As a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Advisor to the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, she speaks regularly on African business issues. She has interviewed with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg Radio, CNBC, CCTV, Africa24, and VoiceAmerica Business. She writes regularly for the Financial Times and Newsweek. Aubrey is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a board member of Invest Africa USA, Young Leader at the Milken Institute and the co-author of award-winning The Next Africa (Macmillan, 2015). She earned a MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a MA from Georgetown University.

+ Eliot Pence - Tofino Capital

Eliot is a Senior Director at McLarty Associates, a global corporate advisory firm, where he leads the firm’s work in Africa and Canada. He is a co-founder of Insider (formerly AXN), a tech-enabled PR firm that helps emerging market entrepreneurs reach global audiences. Eliot has advised over 50 Fortune 500 companies investing across 30 markets and authored 25 articles on doing business in emerging markets published in outlets including Reuters, CNN and the Financial Times. In 2018, Eliot was appointed to the United States Trade Representative's Trade Advisory Committee for Africa. Eliot is a Senior Fellow of the American Security Project, board member of the Africa Leadership Network and Liliesleaf Trust and CFR Term Member. He received his M.A. from Yale and B.A. from the University of Victoria.

Core Values

 

Integrity

We operate with integrity and respect for our entrepreneurs and investors. Integrity is a combination of traits built over time and at Argonautic this the basis of our business code of conduct. We are strong advocates of culture built upon strong values in our own organization and the organizations of our partners.

Transparency

In a world of fast-moving business and connectivity, transparency is fundamental to our relationships with entrepreneurs and investors. Argonautic works closely with its entrepreneurs to outline how we can best support our investments, whether it’s tapping into our network, discussing business decisions or preparing for a future round of financing to support growth. We stay in regular contact with our investors and ensure they have full access to the information needed for their investments. We are open about and proud of our operations.

Grit

Regardless of market size or customer traction, founders face seemingly insurmountable challenges as they scale. We work with founders and partners with a track record of overcoming challenges with strategic thinking, composure and execution. At Argonautic, we work as hard as our founders to best support our family of investments. 

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