A NEW café has opened in Makati City, serving not only food, but also funds for start-ups.
VC Cafe, as the name suggests, is a venture capital formed by Chinese investors, who are looking for innovative or creative business ideas to support and help a new business become a full-blown entity.
Serving as a physical store for the consortium, VC Café is designed to become an incubation hub for like-minded enterprising individuals who can interact and exchange feasible concepts the firm can finance.
“We can offer the fund, we can offer the space, and we can offer other services, like legal and accounting consultancies, to help new enterprises prepare and set up their own company,” said Frankie Meng, general manager for the Philippines of Youth Hostel Leisure and Resort Corp. (YHLRC).
Without divulging the amount of investment for putting up the café, he said, at the moment, they are looking to invest in a business model related to information technology.
Since the idea comes from start-up proponents, they get the majority of the shares, he said.
“And it depends on the owners how many shares they can give us,” Meng said. “But if in the future, about two or three years later, your company is stable and if you do not need us, we can cash out. We can exit [through a buyout].”
Capacitated to seat 96 persons, the concept cafe also doubles as a hang-out place for office employees, students and other potential customers in the area.
Upon entering the café, life-size robots greet guests, alongside an HOU logo that means 1980s generation in Chinese. The interior of the 300-square-meter coffee shop is decorated with paintings and toy collection of animé characters, adding character to the bistro’s theme and vibe.
“It’s not your ordinary café,” said YHLRC Marketing Manager Anne Myers. “Our approach for everything that you see here is visual, style and expression. So basically, what we want everyone to feel when they are here is like going back to memory lane: Remembering their childhood, enjoying the music, enjoying the food and definitely stay here to relax.”
VC Café offers beverages from coffee to tea, soy milk, yogurt, fruit juice and cocktails. With a full-time chef onboard, the menu is extensive to include Chinese and Italian cuisines, American-size burgers and desserts.
It is fully equipped with function or conference rooms, audio-visual equipment and other business tools needed for corporate or client meetings. Price packages are reasonable and consumable.
There’s also a mini library with books and magazines to read while dining. Wi-fi is accessible for everyone.
Meng said they plan to hold activities in the café, like painting contests and art exhibitions, especially for design and architecture students.
“We will choose the top 200 regional art work from these students or young designers and architects. Then, we will offer the good rewards,” he said.
To help them sell their creations, he said they will use their art pieces as decorations in a five-star hotel they are putting up in Boracay, which the guests can purchase.
Sitting at a 5,000-sq m property in Station 3, this five-story accommodation facility will house up to 180 rooms and VC Café as among the food and beverage outlet-tenants.
“We’re already done with the soil testing. We hope to finish it within three years,” Meng said, adding they plan to put up high-end technology into the hotel to make it iconic in the area.
Upbeat on the country’s continuous progress, he said they will continue to fund more projects here in the future.
“I have enough confidence for the Philippine economy,” said Meng, who has been residing in the country for the past six years. “Maybe the last 20 or 30 years, that is the magic of the Chinese economy. But I think the next 20 or 30 years, Filipinos will get its magic back again, just like about 15 years ago. We can see the government now that it’s trying to further improve the economic growth.”
VC Café is at the ground floor of Don Chua Lamko Building on the corner of LP Leviste and HV de la Costa streets in Salcedo Village, Makati City. It is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight.