Photo of Ryan Thorn courtesy of USDA West Virginia Rural Development

Country Roads Angel Network Member Meeting and Investment Review Set for April 17 in Wheeling at Bridging Innovation

Ryan Thorn, West Virginia’s State Director of USDA Rural Development To Speak

April 12, 2023

Wheeling, W.Va. (April 12, 2023) – Country Roads Angel Network (CRAN) will host its bi-annual in person member meeting and investment review starting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 17, at Oglebay Lodge in Wheeling. Highlights of the event include a keynote address by Ryan Thorn, West Virginia’s State Director of USDA Rural Development, an investment update from Iconic Air, CRAN’s inaugural investment, as well as two investment opportunity pitches from West Virginia entrepreneurs.

Judy Moore, president of CRAN and deputy director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, said the accredited investors of the Country Roads Angel Network have thus far made direct investments totaling $1,089,250, with nearly $8 million raised in additional capital, to five Mountain State companies. “Early-stage capital is one of the most significant barriers to new business start-ups and expansions, and CRAN investment is a magnet for other resources and ongoing mentorship,” said Moore.

Moore said CRAN is the Mountain State’s only accredited angel investment network making investments in all 55 counties. The five CRAN investments include Iconic Air, Parthian Battery Solutions LLC, Endolumik, Inc., Cox Telecom, and Mountain Steer Meat Company.

Moore said CRAN’s bi-annual in person member meeting and investment review traditionally features a West Virginia champion of entrepreneurship, and Thorn has played an extensive role in supporting business and economic development throughout the state.

Born, raised, and educated in West Virginia, Thorn grew up the son of a coal miner and has 15 years of professional experience in the private and public sectors, working in the fields of public and government affairs and economic development. He previously served more than five years as Economic Development Manager for the Office of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV). In this role, he worked with local, state, and federal stakeholders to attract new and expand existing businesses, strengthen public infrastructure, develop a skilled and ready workforce, and create economically diverse and resilient communities across the state. Thorn is the first in his immediate family to graduate from college and is an advocate for lifelong learning. He holds a master’s degree from West Virginia University, a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and is a board member of the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Foundation.

Moore said real-world business pitches are another highlight of CRAN’s bi-annual investor meetings. “We will also hear from two entrepreneurs seeking early-stage capital and hope to provide potential CRAN investor members, who have a desire to see West Virginia businesses grow, an opportunity to witness why this work and their involvement is so important,” said Moore. “CRAN can only support the business ideas that come to us, so we strongly encourage entrepreneurs to reach out to us with their winning ideas.”

About CRAN: A non-profit corporation based in Beckley and serving all 55 counties of the Mountain State, CRAN offers emerging businesses early stage, seed funding to bring their creations to market. CRAN’s investment services are possible through a startup grant from the U.S. Economic Development Authority, with support from the One Foundation, Massey Family Foundation, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, and the Charlottesville Angel Network. CRAN is administered by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority through the WV Hive and has recruited qualified investors to evaluate, invest in, and mentor individual startup businesses. CRAN completes the NRGRDA ecosystem of innovation and health, attracting a new economy to a region of boundless natural beauty and possibilities.