Richard Robinson is a seasoned connector, serial tech entrepreneur and professor across Asia, based in China since 1996. He is the Founding Partner of WhipWham Ventures accelerating and investing in innovation across China and Asia. Rich has been serial tech entrepreneur/executive in the Middle Kingdom since 1996 and has been with 8 startups during that time and dozens of others as an advisor, mentor or angel. Previously a senior executive at three companies from small, private companies through to their public listings, Rich then went on to found five companies. Three companies exited to publicly listed companies, one failed magnificently and one is still fighting the good fight.
Rich teaches at the top two universities in China as an Adjunct Professor at Peking University’s Guanghua MBA program teaching Entrepreneurship in China and a guest lecturer at BI-Tsinghua teaching execs from leading tech companies including established industrial players and unicorns.
Active in the geek-o-system across Asia as startup advisor, mentor and angel, Rich speaks frequently at tech conferences globally as a keynote presenter, panelist and event MC (MC at TechCrunch Beijing, MC at GMIC Beijing and Silicon Valley, MC at Web Summit Dublin, MC at Rise Hong Kong and MC at Startup Asia Singapore and Jakarta).
Rich was most recently Co-founder and President of venture backed Yolu which he co-founded with the co-founder of NY SE-listed renren. He was also Co-founder and Chairman of venture-backed Kooky Panda; co-founder of Shouji Mobile acquired by Tencent (HKSE:0.700HK); co-founder and CEO of Dada Asia which was acquired by Milan-listed Dada; VP of Int’l for Linktone (NASDAQ:LTON); founder and CEO of MIG which was acquired by Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU); and a founding executive as VP of Marketing and Sales for renren.com (1.0) which raised $37 mln, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2000 and was then acquired in 2001.
Rich is the co-founder of the first Beijing Chapter for EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization); is a mentor at Chinaccelerator in Shanghai and at www.hax.co in Shenzhen – the world’s first accelerator for hardware startups. He is also a mentor at 500 Startups in Mountain View www.500.co.
To exercise his creative muse, Rich writes children’s books with all proceeds going to charities through his non-profit Creatribute which has raised hundreds of thousands of RMB to date.
And for nearly 20 years, he’s been producing and performing ChopSchticks standup comedy shows for expats across China / Asia. Rich opened for Louis C.K. at a 325 year-old Peking Opera theatre in Beijing in 2012. ChopSchticks has also featured Russell Peters, Marc Maron, Jim Gaffigan, The Second City, etc. and has given sore abdominal muscles to tens of thousands of attendees across China andAsia since 1998 ;-).
After graduating from college in ’89 and before getting his MBA in ’94 Rich was a wild-eyed backpacker who worked his way around the world as a bartender in the Virgin Islands; a concierge/ski bum in a Swiss hotel; an English teacher in post-revolution Prague; a house painter in Norway; a grape picker in France; and a BMW factory worker in Munich.
In 1993, Rich first came to China overland from Switzerland via hitchhiking and through the trans- Siberian railway. He rode a 1942 Harley-Davidson through Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in ’94 and did a 4,000km solo bicycle trip through Africa from Nairobi to Capetown in ’96.
Rich received an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in The Netherlands in 1996, studied at Cambridge University in the UK in 1988 and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1989.
A perpetual student of Mandarin Chinese, Rich also has an amazing entrepreneur wife and three little guys Made in China.