The China Startup Pulse

The China Startup Pulse

A podcast designed to give startup enthusiasts from around the world a behind the scenes and on-the-ground understanding of what's happening in China's startup ecosystem every week. Founded and hosted by Ryan Shuken & Todd Embley, - hackers and hustlers on the ground and at the epicenter of it all in Shanghai.

Sponsored by Chinaccelerator, and People Squared.

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    Startup like a rolling stone; trailblazing within the China music and event industry with Archie Hamilton founder and CEO of Split Works.

    Building something that doesn't exist is what some entrepreneurs thrive on. The risk, challenges, and potential drove Archie Hamilton to pioneer an entire industry in China. Archie Hamilton founder and CEO of Split Works, started in 2006 to help build the music festival industry in China. Realizing that there was no audience here, he started to make up the rules and fought to understand his audience while learning how to survive, and built one of the greatest music festivals in China.

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    How to Startup, Step 1; with Trevor Owens, Co-Founder of The Lean Startup Machine

    Step 1: Validate your assumptions! Startups all over the world make the same mistake; they build a startup based on assumptions, with no data to validate a need. Trevor Owens, Co-Founder of the Lean Startup Machine, and author of The Lean Enterprise takes us through his winning method. His vision: "I want to create more millionaire entrepreneurs; if you really want to start a unicorn, it really helps if you already built a successful company, it really helps even more if you have a few million in your bank."

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    Seeking and Taming the Unicorn Startup; 8x8 Speaker Series (3/3) with Peter Davison and David Chen, Unicorn Investors

    PayPal and Pinterest; recognised instantaneously and an embodiment of the Unicorn Startup. This week, recorded Live!, and 3rd part series from Chinaccelerator's 8x8 event in Shanghai, Peter Davison, serial unicorn investor, breaks down the journey of these superstar startups having invested and built up both Pinterest and Paypal. David Chen Co-Founder of Angelvest, the first and largest seed investment group in China, also sheds light on how success is defined by the investor and the secret to getting funded in the East.

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    Riding that Bitcoin Wave; with Arthur Hayes, CEO & Co-Founder of Bitmex

    Founders talk about hard work, as much as good luck. This week, Arthur Hayes, Co-Founder of Bitmex, tells us why to build something that makes money right away, the importance of having supreme confidence in your own vision as an entrepreneur, and cuts right to the core of what bitcoin enables the World to do -financial inclusion and more open trade.

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    Artificial Intelligence is Not Intelligent; Wechat Conference series (1/2); with Andrew Schorr, Co-Founder of Grata, and Edaan Getzel, Co-Founder of Rikai Labs

    Living in China comes hand-in-hand with having Wechat -one does not function without it. With payment solutions, business accounts, taxi services and more, Wechat's efficient utility services are far surpassing the likes of Whatsapp and Facebook messenger. This week, we podcast Live! From the Chat conference -China's largest Wechat conference for the international community, hosted in Shanghai by China Channel and Walk the Chat.

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    CopyChina Mobile Payment Solutions; with Tobias Pfütze, Partner at China FinTech

    "Mobile payments in China are at least 3-5 years ahead of Europe." This week, Tobias Pfütze, Consultant at Mediaman Shanghai, Partner at China Fintech, and G20 delegate for the Young Entrepreneurs Summit, makes a strong case in arguing how Fintech in Asia is not only different from everywhere else, but in fact, proves that China is leading the World in Mobile Payment Solutions, with the Fintech crown jewels of Wechat Wallet and Alipay.

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    Becoming the Superhero Entrepreneur; 8X8 Speaker Series (1/3) with SiokSiok and James Fong, Storytelling Film Makers

    Throughout time, superheroes have had a common set of attributes: unmatched resilience, defiance against doubters, and generally making the World a better place. Superhero Entrepreneurs are no different! This week, we welcome two awesome storytelling film makers, SiokSiok and James Fong, recorded Live! from Chinaccelerator's 8x8 event in Shanghai, as they share how to market yourself as a Superhero Entrepreneur in a movie style narrative.

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    China Startup Crunch; with Ned Desmond, COO of TechCrunch

    TechCrunch -the leading technology media platform, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups and reviewing new Internet and tech news. What better way than to pick the brains of Ned Desmond, COO of TechCrunch, who joined us Live! at Shanghai's TechCrunch 2016 Conference! Ned chats to us about the hottest cross-border startups, the $6billion USD which TechCrunch companies raised, and also looks back on the biggest challenges TechCrunch faced. We also discuss the cultural phenomenon of Silicon Valley, its representation in popular media, and the impact this image has had on global startups. It doesn't matter whether you're in Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley in Beijing, this episode has something for every curious entrepreneur, investor or listener!

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    Throwing Parties For a Living, with Stephane de Montgros, Co-Founder of Riviera Events & The Hotelier Awards

    Start-ups aren't all tech nerds and T-shirts; some evolve into elegant and classy enterprises, paid to essentially throw glitzy parties from the rooftops of China's hottest cities. This weeks guest, Stephane de Montgros, shares how he uprooted from France, moved to China, and co-founded China’s leading luxury hospitality events management company, Riviera Events, and The Hotelier Awards!

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    Learn By Doing. Fail Faster. Succeed Faster; with Kevin Chen, Co-Founder of Italki

    Hindsight is 20/20. This week, Kevin Chen, tells us the hard lessons learned since ‘committing career suicide’; quitting his corporate life with Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, to building multiple start-ups before co-founding Italki, a leading language learning social network that connects students and teachers for language exchange and paid tutoring, which recently closed a US$3million round of funding.

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    "Made in China" to "Made by China", with Jacob Rothman, Founding Partner of Platform88

    Disruptors within the manufacturing space are forcing a change to the old adage 'Made in China'. This week’s guest, Jacob Rothman, Founding Partner of Platform88, tells us exactly how technology has caused manufacturing in China to pivot. Platform88, a manufacturing network that brings ideas to life, is at the forefront of this movement.

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    Coffee, Bagels & Beer Oh My! with David Seminsky, Founder of Sumerian Coffee and Dogtown

    Known for amazing bagels and craft lattes in Shanghai, David Seminsky tells us about his whirlwind China adventures including his early days at Apple and sharing an office with Steve Jobs, to accidental China jail time, to founding a string of successful brick-and-mortar businesses: Sumerian Coffee, Boom-Boom Bagel and everyone's favorite curbside pub Dogtown!

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    Digging Under the Great Firewall, Steve Mushero, Co-Fouder of ChinaNetCloud

    Ever wondered who operates the internet? This week, Tudou’s first foreigner CTO, Steve Mushero, tells us how he uprooted from the Valley, moved to China, and co-founded China’s 1st and leading cloud service, ChinaNet Cloud - essentially running the backend to the World’s largest internet user base!

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    The Solo Bootstrapper, with Ronan Berder, CEO and Founder of Wiredcraft

    Building a startup is hard enough but going solo in China, without a Chinese co-founder, is exactly what Ronan Berder, CEO and Founder of Wiredcraft, did. This week we talk about how he bootstrapped his company from the ashes of a failed startup into a global DevOps company, with huge international clients such as the UN, CNN, Starbucks and the Worldbank.

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    The Hard Thing about Hard (China) Things, TR Harrington, Founder of Darwin Marketing

    Failing in China’s harsh start-up climate is an all too common occurrence for those foreigners with the guts to chase middle kingdom success. If success is met however, one must then begin the arduous task of then just keeping the door open. Successfully exiting? Folklore. This week’s guest, TR Harrington shares with us the hard things he learned along the way: breaking up with business partners, optimising deal terms with stakeholders, raising money just before the financial crisis, and how he managed to complete his journey on a high by being acquired by iProspects!

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    3D Printing a Better World ; with Lucio Pentagna Guimaraes Neto, Founder of XinFab

    Entrepreneurs worldwide have a set of common values. Do work you love. Embrace change and risk. Build things that matter. Make a positive impact. This week’s guest, Lucio Pentagna Guimaraes Neto, tells us how he pivoted from his Brazillian legal, MBA and corporate CEO background, to sailing the world, end up in China, self-learn 3D modelling, and go onto founding Shanghai’s first collaborative maker space, XinFab.

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    Winning With Attitude; with Jared Turner, Co-Founder of Cinnaswirl

    We've discussed the value of Guanxi when starting up in China, but there is another cultural phenomenon here commonly known as "giving face". This can be one of the most difficult pills to swallow for foreigners starting up in China but can prove to be an extremely valuable asset for those that can pull it off well. This episode really dove deep into how to mitigate your frustrations with some of China's systems and beaurocracy, and where to look for opportunites in them instead.

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    Marketplace Lending in China; with Dr. Tharon Smith, Managing Director of Lendit China

    China is the largest market place for internet lending in the world, almost quadrupling the rest of the world combined at nearly $60 billion in 'originations' (where loans are being 'originated'). We discuss why this is the case talking about the 'black economy' in China that has moved online, and the lack of the ability to gain credit or obtain a proper credit score. We also talk about the role that internet banks are going to play in this field helping small to medium businesses obtain loans in the future.

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    China’s Bitcoin Obsession; with Bobby Lee, CEO of BTCC

    Stanford before it was cool; Yahoo! before internet mail and search; Walmart e-commerce in China: To say Mr. Lee has been ahead of the game would be a serious understatement. Joining BTCC as CEO in 2013, Mr. Lee has grown BTCC to become China’s no. 1 Bitcoin giant, and one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in the world.

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    Advertising the China Movement, with Milo Chao, Chief Strategy Officer at TBWA

    Milo is an expert in advertising, who knows how to bridge the gap between big business and the solutions startups bring to the table. He is an Expert in Residence at Chinaccelerator who helps teams develop their story and message. He has worked at many of the big names in advertising and brings his experience and approach to startups in today's cast.

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    Starting Up: It's A Marathon; with Greg Nance, founder of Dyad

    Greg gives us insight into how he has raised money from leading investors, SOSV and 500start-ups. He tells us his passion for informing and inspiring the marketplace through client obsession to boost their net promoter score. Greg, as “a chief everything officer”, shares how to run a start-up like he runs ultra-marathons and why entrepreneurs should “start before they are ready!”

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    China's Legal Landscape for Startups, with Benjamin Qiu, Partner at Loeb & Loeb LLP

    This week we dive into the legal landscape of starting up in China with the man who helped Kai Fu Lee put together the $500 million U.S. dollar fund, incubator and accelerator, Innovation Works. Benjamin left California to become an IP lawyer in Beijing in 2006, then post Innovation Works Benjamin joined Cooley LLP in China before recently joining Loeb & Loeb, so he has an incredible amount of experience and knowledge that he brings to the podcast.

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    Inside China's Tech World, with Dr. Lu Gang, founder of Technode

    After a successful blogging career with Mobinode Gang then turned it into the first full-blown tech and startup online news site Technode. Ganglu also runs, the China version of TechCrunch, and is a fixture in startup journalism in China. We tap into his incredible experience covering news and trends in China looking to better understand where the ecosystem has come from, where it is, and where it's going.

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    Crowdsourcing, co-founders and the first Chinese start-up to be accepted to Y-Combinator.

    Buckle up as we welcome one of China's top entrepreneurs David Chen, CEO of Having quit Goldman Sachs and his studies at the University of Chicago, despite his parent's wishes to the contrary, David never gave up on his dream and followed it to Silicon Valley despite not getting into Y-Combinator on his first attempt.

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    Power networking with female founder and future leader - Stephany Zoo

    Stephany Zoo joins us on this week's show bringing energy and insight to the art of networking. Founder of The League of Extraordinary Women, Co-Founder of BUNDSHOP, Founding Partner of LeagueX, SH Director of UN Charter School World Acadamy for the Future of Women, (the list continues)...we dip into a variety of topics to hear about Stephany's vast experiences.

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    Digital Marketing in China - going beyond WeChat

    This week we talk with local entrepreneur Natasha Fang, Founder of the upstart digital marketing agency Tolmao Group in Shanghai discussing channels beyond WeChat and which you should consider and why.

    One key topic was why only marketing online isn't enough. Tolmao Group promotes event marketing to grow brands and build a following offline, and Natasha shares some local knowledge on a marketers guide for multi-tier cities in China.

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    Who needs a plan when you've got a big bag of hustle?!

    In this episode we talk with Andrew Collins, CEO of Mailman Group and one of Shanghai's most successful entrepreneurs. After moving to Shanghai in 2006 and acquiring The Mailman Group, Andrew has turned it into a leading digital, social media and investment group in China. Andrew also shares his stories about launching their new ventures KAWO and Shopilist via Mailman Ventures.

    We also have a very special announcement by Andrew and the KAWO team regarding their latest product release and in the spirit of supporting local startups and entrepreneurs in China, will be giving it away FOR FREE! Details inside so get listening!

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    "Maker to Market" - China's spin on the maker movement, with the legendary David Li

    In this episode, we chat with David Li, the founder of China’s first Makerspace Xinchejian and the co-founder of the think-tank focusing on technological production Hacked Matter. Over the past 20 years, David has started several open source software projects and contributed to many others.

    David shares his insights on the maker-manufacturer scene in China – a particular type of grassroots innovation led by makers and Shanzhai manufacturers through informal and open source systems. The term Shanzhai originally referred to cheap copy cats of brand products and particularly mobile phones in China’s hardware manufacturing center Shenzhen, but as David argues, has become way beyond copying.

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    In with the Old, Out with the New! With guest Bunny Yan, founder and CEO of Squirrelz.

    Ever heard of upcycling? Neither had we! Today we talk with Bunny Yan and learn about her story of selling upcycled products offline to online. Bunny discusses how she tailors her pitch while "talking social" to VC's in China. How about running a multi-cultural team? Discover the benefits and challanges of having an International team while doing business in China.

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    Raising a startup in China with mom-trepreneur Hong Cheng, Founder and CEO of Uparenting

    Is raising a child and founding a startup at the same time even possible?  Serial entrepreneur Hong Cheng discusses with us what it takes to be a mom-trepreneur and how she’s able to balance spending time with her family whilst building an empire.

    Uparenting is a mobile platform connecting parents and professional parenting practitioners, to source trusted, tailored, and real-time solutions for daily parenting advice.  As an experienced and successful business women, Hong also shares with us her secrets to hiring, managing and retaining talents.

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    Is the Holy Grail of marketing simply not marketing at all? This and more with world class word-of-mouth marketing expert Sina Farzaneh.

    In this episode, we sit down with China’s word-of-mouth marketing expert Sina Farzaneh to discuss how brands can grow organically by studying and engaging customers systematically.

    In 2010 Sina co-founded Advocacy, a marketing agency that helps identify and activate brand advocates for consumer goods companies. He is currently working on his new venture PullPath, a software platform to bring what he’s built at Advocacy to a grassroots level.

    We also discuss the advantage of word-of-mouth over traditional marketing methods, differences between doing marketing in Silicon Valley and China, and the role human behavioral understanding can play in technology advancement.

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    Raising an entrepreneur regardless of gender, with podcast superstar Jenny Zhu

    We bring on the show our first female guest Jenny Zhu, who was the voice behind the iconic Chinese learning podcast ChinesePod. Jenny is now working on her new venture OpenLanguage to help young Chinese learn English using engaging audio and video content.

    In this episode we discuss the gender imbalance in entrepreneurship and Chinese parents’ influence on their children's career choices. Jenny also shares with us lessons she learned building and growing OpenLanguage and the importance of going local and mobile.

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    From mini golf to Kickstarter - the power of storytelling; with serial entrepreneur Joe Constanty

    Joe Constanty is the co-founder of THE UT.LAB, a technology driven footwear brand designed in Shanghai and sold globally, initially through Kickstarter. UT.LAB’s first Kickstarter campaign back in 2013 was the most successful footwear campaign ever and launched an entire new category for footwear brands on the Kickstarter platform.

    We also discuss why crowdfunding in China is radically different than in the West. We wrap with Joe sharing his new project called Purple Spread and what the local startup ecosystem can look forward to from Next Step.

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    The Great Wall of “guanxi” – Doing business the Chinese way with serial entrepreneur Alvin Wang Graylin

    Understand China’s “guanxi” (social connections and relationships) culture, what it takes and how to capitalize on it with seasoned technology entrepreneur Alvin Wang Graylin. Alvin is the CEO and Founder of mobile social networking platform Guanxi Inc. and has over 20 years of business management experience in the technology industry, including 15 years in Greater China.

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    China’s mobile revolution with Justin Mallen, Founder & CEO of Silk Road Technologies

    In this episode we chat with Justin Mallen, the Founder and CEO of Silk Road Technologies, a Hangzhou-based corporate telecommunication services provider.  The company builds data center for Alibaba, which processed $5 billion in sales online in the first 90 minutes of China’s Black Friday on November 11.

    Justin came to China 23 years ago and has been building businesses since then.  As the sixth internet user in China, Justin discusses how China has developed from zero internet connectivity to an ecosystem taken over by smart phones and apps.

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    How to enter China – Everything about China’s startup ecosystem and VC scene with William Bao Bean of SOSV & Chinaccelerator

    Check out our latest episode with William Bao Bean, a Partner at SOSV and the Managing Director of Chinaccelerator, the first startup accelerator in the East and sponsor of China Startup Pulse.

    William shared his insights on the startup and investment scene in China and what it takes for foreign or global startups to succeed in China. We also discussed WeChat being a useful tool to engage customers or users with very low acquisition cost. This is a must-listen episode for those of you who are trying to understand what’s really going on here and how it is different from the West.

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    Hiring and retaining talent, enterprise selling, and data science (big data 2.0)

    A knowledge-filled episode with serial entrepreneur Jacob Cooke, founder and CEO of Web Presence in China. Launched in 2009, Web Presence is a full service digital marketing and technology agency based in Beijing. Jacob talks about why he chooses to spend more than his competition on hiring and training, the value of hiring female staff, the future of data science (big data) in China and touches on how to sell B2B in China.

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    Work 3.0, the secret sauce behind a successful co-working space, and discussing the differing ecosystems across the PRC, with Bob Zheng, founder and CEO of People Squared

    In this episode we caught up with Shanghai’s co-working space superstar Bob Zheng, the founder and CEO of People Squared (sponsor of The China Startup Pulse). Bob discusses how People Squared got started, it's rapid growth over the last few years and what the future holds. We also discuss the evolution of China's startup culture, the revolution around the way people are working here, and where to be based on the vertical you are innovating in.

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