Katie Russel is the Managing Partner of Draper Startup House Accelerator, a pre-seed “pop-up” accelerator program in Austin, TX. She previously led Business Development and Marketing at Draper University and was an investor with Draper U Ventures, focusing on pre-seed founders. Katie comes from the tech world previously working at Facebook as an Ad Analyst and at RetailMeNot in Product Operations. Katie graduated with her M.B.A. in 2022, while simultaneously building her startup and investment portfolio. She is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs to take the big jump into creating their own companies and opening up the world of entrepreneurship to everyone. Katie is excited to lead the next phase of growth at CTAN as the new Executive Director. You can reach her at Katie@CTAN.com.
John was most recently an Investment Associate at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), a $200 billion pension system, in the Strategic Partnerships and Research team and then the Special Opportunities team. As part of these teams, John worked alongside some of the largest fund managers. John helped to invest money on behalf of TR
S into a mixture of various fund structures and direct investments, across all asset classes and geographies, including real estate, traditional buyout, energy, infrastructure, regulatory capital, activist public equity, direct private debt, among others. Prior to joining TRS, John graduated with his M.B.A. from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin where he was a Venture Fellow for S3 Ventures, an agnostic Texas-focused venture capital firm. During the summer, John worked for the Austin Technology Incubator. Prior to McCombs, John worked as an analyst for Forge Capital Partners, a manager of real estate private equity funds focused on commercial real estate in the Southeast and Texas. Aside from his M.B.A. in 2019, John has an M.S. in Finance and B.S. with a double major in Finance and Real Estate, cum laude, from Florida State University. John was a member of Florida State’s varsity Track & Field and Cross-Country programs. Originally from Tampa, FL, John now resides in Austin with his wife, Julianne, and their Goldendoodle named Penny Waffles.