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VC Cafe ready to serve food, drinks-and venture capital.

The recently opened VC Cafe in Makati City wears many hats, so to speak-it's a cafe, a restaurant and a bar (after 6 p.m.); it's also a mini library, a co-working space, and a gaming area.

Its '80s Japanese cartoons-themed decor also makes the place a great hangout for those who want to relive their childhood.

But the establishment's most important role is to provide what its name, VC, stands for: venture capital.

More than catering to Filipinos' dining needs, VC Cafe was set up by Chinese company Youth Hostel, Leisure and Resort Corp., with the aim of making it the country's premier 'business incubator,' says general manager Frankie Meng, by providing startups with funding and mentorship.

'We know a lot of young people have excellent ideas, and we want to give them the opportunity [to act on those ideas],' says Meng. 'We can offer the fund, space, and even legal and accounting consultancy to help them set up their own company.'

Those seeking to put up their own companies simply need to approach one of VC Cafe's staff members, who will gladly get in touch with the venture capital firm's representatives on their behalf, says Meng. What the company is interested in most are IT-related startups with focus on app development.

'We believe this is the future [of business],' he adds.

Without disclosing an exact figure as to how much his company is willing to invest in these startups, Meng says the business owners he plans to work with will definitely get the majority of their respective companies' shares.

'We need to see your plans for the first, third, fifth year; your marketing [strategy]; the advantages and disadvantages,' Meng adds.

If these startups need a place to work or conduct meetings and presentations, function rooms are available for rent; printers, projectors and computers are also on standby should customers need them.

For students, VC Cafe houses a small library for their perusal.

Professionals working around the area (the cafe is on the ground floor of Don Chua Lamko Building on HV de la Costa Street) are also invited to unwind in the cafe after a long day at work, says Meng, where they can play board or video games, or just kick back and watch a game on either of the diner's two huge TVs.

VC Cafe is Youth Hostel, Leisure and Resort Corp.'s first investment in the country, says Meng.

The company is in the process of putting up a 150- to 200-room hotel in Boracay called Y Hotel, where it also plans to open a VC Cafe branch.

Meng, who has been living in the Philippines for six years, says his company is bullish about investing more in the country-especially in startups-because of the economy's huge growth potential.

'I have confidence in the Philippine economy. In the last 20 or 30 years, we saw the magic of Chinese economics; but I think [in] the next 20 or 30 years, the Filipinos will get that magic back,' Meng says.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 30, 2017
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