New Makati café serves food, funding

There is a new cafe in town, and it serves not only food and beverage, but also business ideas and funding support for startups.

Appropriately named Venture Capital Cafe, or VC Cafe, the new Makati hangout was established by Chinese investors who also plan to put up restaurants, hotels and resorts in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

“It is not an ordinary cafe,” says Frankie Meng, the 31-year-old general manager for the Philippines of Youth Hostel Leisure and Resort Corp., the Chinese company behind VC Cafe.

“VC Cafe is a very unique concept. It combines office and cafe together. We can offer assistance to young people who want to put up IT startups,” he says in an interview at the café, a 300-square-meter space at the ground floor of Don Chua Lamko Building at the corner of L.P. Leviste Street and Dela Costa Street in Salcedo Village, Makati City.

Meng, who has been living in the Philippines for six years now, says VC Café represents the first investment project of Youth Hostel Leisure, which is also building a new 150 to 200-room resort in Boracay Island that will be called Y Hotel. 

VC Café, which employs a full-time chef, offers a complete line of beverage from coffee, tea, soya milk, yogurt and fruit juice to cocktails. Its menu includes a fusion of Italian and Chinese cuisines, American-size burgers and desserts.  It is open from 8 a.m. to midnight, or until the last customers leave, according to Meng.

The café has 1980s as a theme, and there is an 80HOU logo at the entrance of the place, which in Chinese means 80s generation.  “We encourage them to come here.  We can offer food, drinks, coffee, soy milk, beverage.  After your work, you want to relax,”says Meng.  Paintings of anime and six-foot models of robots greet customers upon entering the café.

“Interpersonal relationship has changed in the modern times. This is a place for everyone to make friends, communicate and exchange ideas. When you open communication with your friends, maybe new ideas will come out,” says Meng.

VENTURE CAPITALIST. Youth Hostel Leisure and Resort Corp. general manager for the Philippines Frankie Meng
Anne Myers, the marketing manager of Youth Hostel Leisure says Meng also wants to make sure everything served in the café is healthy, thus the addition of unsweetened soya milk and yogurt. “We want to impose that everything we offer here is healthy at a price that is friendly and fair,” says Myers.

More than a café and restaurant, VC Café wants to become a business incubation center where customers can meet, exchange ideas and hold seminars, workshops and events. It offers free high-speed Wi-Fi, which has already attracted a horde of IT professionals and college students in the area.  The café has four conference rooms, two large TV sets, projectors, printers and other office equipment.

“It is not your ordinary cafe.  We want to offer very 80s anime vibe.  You can chill here.  But it is also multi-functional.  Everyone can come here.  They can enjoy the food and be creative at the same time.  They can share ideas for startup businesses,” says Myers.

“If you have a business, we will be happy to assist you in terms of human resource.  This cafe will be an extension.  We will discuss everything here, and hopefully close a business deal.  We will be helping you fulfill your dream of having your own business or starting up your own business,” she says.

Myers says there are also plans to hold painting competitions and art exhibits at VC Café to showcase the talent of Filipino youth.

“We want to help passionate young people in the IT sector.  We believe that everyone is good and has potential. We want to help trigger their passion for business. The future of the country depends on the young people.  They will become the mainstream of this country soon. The Philippines offers good opportunities, economically,” says Meng.

“The main function of this cafe is like business incubator, a business center.  We hope to help customers who want to have their own business or startup.  We are an like incubator.  We can help you on how to turn your ideas into business.  We can also help you in the areas of legal assistance, accounting, consulting, even funding,” he says.

In return for funding support, Youth Hostel Leisure is willing to take a stake in the startup.  VC Cafe will then live up to its name as Venture Capital.

On why the company is expanding in the Philippines, Meng says it is the vibrant Filipino culture that attracts more companies to invest in the country.  “Filipinos are open-minded and you have a mix of western and eastern cultures.  The Philippines has a population of 0.1 billion [100 million] and Filipinos like spending.  That is a good factor,” he says.

“Filipinos have mixed cultures, unlike Indonesia or Malaysia.  Filipinos are open-minded and accept new things.  This is a good thing.  You can find western culture here as well as Chinese and Filipino cultures.  Fifty years ago, the Philippines was the second richest country in Asia.  Filipinos have a good chance to become rich again,” says Meng. 

Topics: Venture Capital Cafe
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