Claire England brings 19 years of executive and nonprofit leadership to her role as Executive Director of CTAN, and she joined the organization in December 2014.
Claire is a Fellow in Class 21 of the Kauffman Fellowship, a prestigious two-year, Silicon Valley-based leadership program for venture capitalists and innovators of all kinds. More than 470 Kauffman Fellows have collectively deployed nearly $200B in capital and created more than 750,000 jobs worldwide. Graduates lead venture capital, government, corporate, university, and startup innovation efforts in more than 40 countries.
Prior to CTAN, Claire worked with local and international startup ecosystem projects, including SXSW Interactive, Tech Ranch, and St. Edward’s University. Previously, she was Executive Director of RISE: the Relationship & Information Series for Entrepreneurs. Under her leadership, RISE became a Forbes “Must-Attend 2013 Conference for Entrepreneurs” and more than doubled its impact on Austin’s startup ecosystem through new relationships with investors, business leaders, and corporate partners.
Claire volunteers her time as Founding Advisory Board member for the World Economic Forum’s Austin Global Shapers Hub and as a mentor for UnLtd USA, a social impact accelerator. She is a frequent speaker, moderator, and judge at startup events such as the Rice Business Plan Competition, Hamburg’s Startups@Reeperbahn & Reeperbahn Festival, Munich’s Bits & Pretzels, and SXSW Interactive. In 2013, she was a finalist for Austin Business Journal’s Profiles in Power – Women of Influence Award. A cum laude graduate of Texas State University, Claire holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication – Public Relations, minor in Music (cello, vocal performance).
Mark Thorsen is Investment Manager of Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), where he leads the funding process, due diligence, and entrepreneur relations for startups seeking early-stage funding from CTAN. Since joining CTAN in 2014, he has helped the organization almost triple its deal flow and become the most active single-chapter angel investment group in North America for the last two years.
When he isn’t managing the 300+ startups that apply to CTAN for funding annually, Mark speaks frequently on startup fundraising, judges startup competitions, and holds deep-dive workshops for entrepreneurs on due diligence. He is also an advisor at local incubators, and he mentors local startups; his community mentoring roles include DivInc accelerator, Tarmac TX, 3 Day Startup at Texas State University, and WeWork Austin.
Mark started his career in finance, with analyst and senior associate roles at JPMorgan, HSBC, and PIMCO. After learning about startups, he left the corporate world and never looked back.
Prior to joining CTAN, Mark served as a Research Fellow in entrepreneurship at the Equinox Center and as Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of San Diego. He also has co-founded two angel-funded startups. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from UC-San Diego.