A Phoenix in the Dragon’s Den: Foreign Entrepreneurial Success in China

  • When:
    Tuesday, 21 May 2019, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
  • Where:
    KPMG Office (Plaza 66, Tower 2, 25/F), 恒隆广场2期25楼
    1266 Nanjing Xi Lu
  • Price:
    RMB 120 including two drinks and snacks. Members only. (Please bring your ID / passport for the access to the office building.)

In venture capital circles, one currently hears talk of a significant downturn in the Chinese investment and fundraising environment, a so-called “PE winter”.  Many domestic Chinese start-ups are finding it difficult to raise funds but what about the case of the foreign entrepreneur?  Haven’t foreigners always been more challenged to fund their ventures in China?  So why is the trend changing, and what dynamics are in play that the tables are turning?  Or is it simply a momentary phenomenon? 

Come along to hear about the current state of play in the venture capital market, engage with foreign start-up entrepreneurs as they pitch their concepts to you, and ultimately discover what the foreign start-up CEO is doing to create China-business success, turning the tide of investment.  

Panel Moderator

  • John Artman, Editor in Chief, TechNode


  • Lewis Harding, Founder & CEO, The Coffee Exchange
  • Barbara Ex, Co-Founder & CEO, WhiteSpace
  • Vineet Budki, CEO & Founder, Guiddoo World, Guiddoo World Travels Pte Ltd

Who shall attend

  • Younger Chamber members and entrepreneurs
  • Individuals looking to start a company
  • Those looking to potentially invest in a PRC-based venture

Event Takeaways

  • Appreciate the challenges of a foreigner starting up and continuing to grow a China-based business
  • Learn about the considerations required to build a successful operation in China
  • Understand the meaning of entrepreneurship in the China context
  • Gain from an opportunity to network with entrepreneurs and Chamber members alike

Related Focus Group: Financial Services

Event Rundown

  • 6:30pm-7:00pm Registration and Networking
  • 7.00pm-7.05pm Opening Introduction
  • 7.05pm-8.05pm Presentations, panel discussion and Q&A
  • 8:05pm-8:30pm Networking
  • 8:30pm Event Ends

Venue Sponsor





AustCham_Shanghai   cancham   FBCS logo.JPG       nba china

No-show Policy: Please note you must cancel your reservation in writing to the event contact staff 24 hours in advance. No-shows without prior notification will be charged a no-show fee of RMB100.  

Walk-in Policy: Please note that members who attend the event without prior reservation will be charged a walk-in fee of RMB50 if spaces are still available. 

Speaker Introduction

John Artman (Moderator)

Editor in Chief, TechNode

TechNode is the leading English information source for news and insight into China’s tech and startups.  Having lived in Beijing for almost a decade, John was previously Director of Technical Communications at CSOFT and a radio host and Assistant Programs Director at China Radio International.  He loves talking about innovative products and business models, big ideas that are changing the world, and compelling communication in various mediums.  He currently hosts the podcast called China Tech Talk.

Lewis Harding

Founder & CEO, The Coffee Exchange

An Englishman by birth who spent his childhood in Asia, Lewis Harding has over 10 years of career work experience in international business and trade, spanning China, Africa and Latin America.  He started life as a banker at Barclays based in London before moving back out to Asia.  A serial entrepreneur with a deep passion for coffee, Lewis believes in creating businesses that provide real, positive value to their stakeholders and the world in general as the key to long term success.

Lewis founded The Coffee Exchange to develop technologies that streamline and increase transparency in critical supply chains in the global coffee industry.  The Exchange platform utilizes IoT logistics tracking to enable full traceability, blockchain to ensure authentic sales records for farmers, which then provides pre-financing and liquidity, as well as data sets for AI ranging from coffee characteristics to supply chain efficiency.  The platform is transforming coffee pricing and the supply chain.  

When not marketing coffee in China, Lewis can be found at the company’s operations in Rwanda and Ecuador.  Lewis is a graduate of Queen Mary University London with a M. Science Degree in Business Economics.  He is also an avid traveller, having visited over half of the world’s countries.

Barbara Ex

Co-Founder & CEO, WhiteSpace

Barbara Ex is the Founder and CEO of WhiteSpace, a sharing economy business that offers flexible, affordable short-term meeting and training room space.  WhiteSpace has been profitable since the day it opened its doors and is now scaling to become the complete O2O platform for meeting and training support in China.  Barbara’s lifelong interest has been the application of cutting-edge technology to open new markets, enable strategy and transform existing business models.

Before moving to the start-up world, Barbara served as Executive Director of Business Transformation at Lenovo in Beijing, where she led internal transformation teams which included CRM, Industry 4.0, Supply Chain and Marketing Analytics.  Earlier, she was a Principle Consultant at IBM, where she led many of the first company-wide e-business projects for European MNCs. 

Barbara moved to China in 2005 and has almost 15 years of experience working in both multinational and Chinese companies.  She holds an MBA from London Business School and both Bachelor and Masters’ Degrees in Chemical Engineering from MIT. 

Vineet Budki

CEO & Founder, Guiddoo World, Guiddoo World Travels Pte Ltd

Vineet Budki is the CEO & Founder of Guiddoo World. He founded Guiddoo, initially an audio guide that later pivoted to a marketplace for tours and activities in 2013, with the objective of giving Indian Travellers great In-Destination Experiences, ie. tours and activities, dining, shopping and entertainment.

Vineet has developed a deep understanding of the travel and leisure sector, having spent the last 15 years immersed in technology, travel and the airline industry, working with like Rocket Internet, Emirates Airlines, Paytronic Networks and Tata Consultancy Services.  He started his first company, Butel, in 2009 - an online comparator for destination, travel and hospitality services - which later became the online arm of Videocon d2h.

Vineet is well-known in the start-up and travel community and is a great orator.  Successful stints include speaking at “TravelTechMe – Dubai”, “Travel Tech MENASA – Dubai”, SATTE Conference - India, IITT Conference India, Mekong Tourism Forum - Vietnam, Cambodia, and splits his working life between India, Singapore, UAE and now China.

He completed his B.Tech in Civil Engineering at NIT Calicut, and pursued his MBA at IE Business School & Cornell University.

Event contact

Hilary Wu