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Meet our team

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HEAD OF OPEN AUSTRIA’S ART + TECH LAB | DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Clara Blume, Ph.D. heads the Open Austria Art + Tech Lab in Silicon Valley to explore the interplay of human and artificial creativity. Set out as a laboratory for open and interdisciplinary collaboration, Blume curates, commissions, and promotes art projects that redefine what it means to be human in the age of artificial intelligence. In concert with Austria’s efforts in tech diplomacy, the Art + Tech Lab is working with policy makers from Europe and the US to advocate for a new digital humanism in tech. As President of the EU National Institutes for Culture Cluster in the Bay Area (EUNIC Silicon Valley) in 2019 and 2020, Blume co-founded and is president of SF-based art + tech + policy non-profit The Grid (Art Powers Technology), supported with funding by the European Commission and Salesforce. She most recently launched and curated the first edition of the San Francisco based art + tech festival The Grid: Exposure - Art + Tech + Policy Days in September 2020. She was a jury member at Ars Electronica (STARTS Prize 2020, Digital Humanity Award 2021), the Immersive Van Gogh AiR SF 2021, the Protest Song Contest (2015, 2016), and many more. She was a featured speaker at international conferences like SXSW, Ars Electronica, Tokyo Midtown: School of the Future, EUNIC Global AI/DX Week, Texas/EU Business Summit, etc. Prior to her new role in cultural diplomacy, she worked as professional musician and artist, touring mostly the EU and the US, appearing several times on national television and headlining international festivals. As founder and manager of the non-profit organization and Vienna-based performance platform “The Singer Songwriter Circus”, Blume promoted songwriters from around the world and helped jumpstart the careers of many Austrian newcomers over 7 consecutive years. She was nominated for “Artist of the Year” in 2016 and “Woman of the Year” in 2015. Blume studied music composition and fine arts at Academia de Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). She holds a M.A. in comparative literature and a Ph.D. in cultural studies and history from the University of Vienna. Her book 'History is written by the victors' (Original German: Die Sieger schreiben Geschichte) on historical revisionism about the Spanish Civil War is based on her dissertation and was published at Peter Lang Verlag Berlin in 2019.

SENIOR ADVISOR

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Marianna joined Open Austria and Austrian Business Agency in 2018 to enable technology transfer from Silicon Valley to Austria and facilitate investments. She primarily works with tech corporations and startups, venture investors and research institutions with focus on data and AI, life sciences, automotive. 

 

Marianna is also a co-founder and Managing Partner of Avy Ventures, a Silicon-Valley based strategy and business consulting company. 

 

Prior to relocating to Silicon Valley, Marianna worked as a Vice President of M&A at EPIC Financial Consulting, a well-established European investment company. She primarily covered FIG and TMT sectors, executed over 20 buy and sell side cross-border transactions. Her M&A advisory career started in New York when she joined SR Capital Partners. Before switching to the M&A advisory career, Marianna was a corporate development associate at Volksbank International driving the eastward business expansion.

 

Marianna is a graduate of Skema Business School, Sophia Antipolis/France and holds MSc degree in International Finance.

CO-DIRECTOR

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Dr. Georg Fuerlinger is the Co-Director of Open Austria and Technology Officer of Advantage Austria, the Austrian Internationalization and Innovation Agency. He joined Advantage Austria with the mission to establish Austria`s first innovation outpost in Silicon Valley. 

 

His previous work experience in the USA includes StartX, Stanford University`s startup accelerator. He was also Adjunct Professor at New York Institute of Technology and supported the university incubator at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. A passionate traveler himself, he led educational tour groups from North American through Europe and managed a European entrepreneur exchange program.

 

Georg earned his PhD from the Vienna University of Technology (“The Impact of Human & Social Capital on University Startup Performance”). He co-authored the book “Abseits von Silicon Valley” (Beyond Silicon Valley) and publishes and presents in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship and technology trends. He started his career in international project management at VAMED, a Global Fortune 500 healthcare corporation. Georg also holds a Masters degree in international business from the Vienna University for Economics and Business and studied at the University of Western Australia and Harvard University.

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COMMUNICATIONS | EVENTS MANAGER

As the first American member of the team, Kylee covers all things social media, communications, and events! She also serves as the executive assistant to the Austrian Tech Ambassador, Martin Rauchbauer. Passionate about leadership, communications, and international relations, Kylee sought out and excelled in multiple previous roles, including as the Executive Intern at the US Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany, the president of her collegiate Rotaract Club, and an English teacher in Thailand. Kylee graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor’s degrees in German and Global Studies. She initially learned German as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Vorarlberg, Austria.

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AUSTRIAN TECH AMBASSADOR | AUSTRIAN CONSUL | CO-DIRECTOR

Martin Rauchbauer is the first Austrian Tech Ambassador in Silicon Valley, Co-Director of Open Austria and Austrian Consul in San Francisco. As an Austrian diplomat, Martin was sent to San Francisco in 2016 in order to open and establish his country’s first innovation outpost in Silicon Valley. Martin’s office helps Austrian entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, and creative minds to connect with the biggest innovation ecosystem in the world.

 

Open Austria engages in tech-diplomacy, a strategic dialogue with the tech industry on the global governance of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. Martin has served in many capacities due to his passion for tech-diplomacy, including but not limited to teaching “Digital Diplomacy” at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna and holding the local San Francisco chair of the European Union in 2018. He co-founded EUNIC Silicon Valley and art + tech + policy network The Grid together with his Open Austria colleague Dr. Clara Blume. 

 

Before coming to San Francisco, Martin was Deputy Director of the Business Support Service and Head of the UNESCO unit at the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna. In 2014, he was briefly CEO at the Österreich Institut GmbH in Vienna. Between 2011 and 2014 he served as Director of Deutsches Haus at NYU in New York City. From 2007 until January 2011 he was the Deputy Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. Martin also served as Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Mexico City and as Desk Officer at the Austrian Foreign Ministry. Throughout his career, Martin designed and implemented numerous high-profile academic, cultural and business-related events in North America. 

 

In addition to his diplomatic career, Martin worked as a journalist for Austrian Radio and Television (ORF) and the Viennese weekly news magazine “Format.” Martin received his M.A. in International Relations and International Economics from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, Italy and Washington D.C. He also holds a degree in Philosophy and German Studies from the University of Vienna.

DEPUTY DIRECTOR | PROJECT MANAGER

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Earl Schaffer supports Austrian startups and established companies in entering and establishing themselves in the US market. He works intensively on the GoSiliconValley initiative, which allows pre-selected Austrian startups to scale their business through acceleration programs, mentoring and investor relationships. Earl also manages the “GoStanford” partnership between the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and Stanford University, granting Austrian companies access to the world class research and know-how of this prestigious university.

 

Earl holds two Masters degrees in business from universities in Austria and the US, as well as an Amateur World Champion Title in Indoor Volleyball. He is also on the Board of Heart4Youth USA, a nonprofit organization helping “at-promise” youth reach their full potential through mentorship