Co-building and co-working with tech start-ups

IT opened its doors to the public on the very first day of Philippine Startup Week on November 18, 2019. The date was providential as the facility is essentially inspired by and made for the start-up community.

Enter Dragon’s Nest—Lessons from CNN Philippines’s The Final Pitch
was the soft launch event, that was the first time people were welcomed into
what will be a start-up hub, unlike any other in the country. For one, the
facility will be the new home of Streetpark Productions Inc., producer of the
country’s first business reality TV show The Final Pitch, which has now
successfully finished filming its fifth season.

“This facility is inspired by successful technology hubs from around the
world, and will be the home of up-and-coming start-ups, as well as our own
future startup ventures” said Dragon’s Nest founder and Chief Exponential
Officer John Aguilar. “We wanted a place where we could bring the best minds
and technology of the world to the Philippines, and the best Philippine start-ups
to the world.”

Dragon’s Nest is a co-working technology hub strategically located inside
Thames International along Calle Industria, in Quezon City, now a buzzing
start-up corridor with the likes of Launch Garage, Kation Technologies,
PayMongo, and a few other start-ups located within walking distance from each

Start-up venture builder

Nest was formed specifically to build,
launch and scale numerous technology start-ups simultaneously, attracting
talent that will comprise its core team in the coming years. “We will be
launching five start-ups this 2020 in partnership with corporate and venture
partners and, possibly, with government, with the goal of building companies
that address challenges and opportunities not just in the Philippines but
across the region,” said John. The company is currently recruiting for its team
as it puts together the best talents in the various functional areas of
marketing, finance, product, design and tech.

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Dragon’s Nest is currently meeting with various corporate partners that
would want to back exciting solutions or opportunities related to their
industry. “The ideas for the start-ups we build will be jointly formed by us,
our corporate and government partners, and the executive founders we will work
with who will run our start-ups,” shared John. “This model for building
start-ups is one that we are very confident will do well, having analyzed and
assessed the reasons start-ups fail, and what has worked for the few who have
successfully scaled their ventures.”

Dragon’s Nest tour

The Dragon’s Nest facility itself is conducive to
building start-ups.

The first thing that will greet you as you approach the entryway are the
glass doors with the 10X decal, signifying the exponential nature of the
facility. “We want to set the tone that when you enter Dragon’s Nest, you are
entering a place where big ideas and dreams are encouraged, where exponential
takes the place of incremental, both in thinking and in action,” said John.

As soon as you enter, visitors are greeted by the dragon unicorn, a
majestic commissioned sculpture by rising Philippine steampunk artist Ram
Mallari. The head is a replica of the Dragon’s Nest logo—that of a dragon’s
head curled up amid the embrace of the nest. The sculpture’s unicorn horn and
horse body caught in mid-gait signifies the company’s technology aspirations
and aggressive trajectory. With his signature use of scrap metal and various
objects, such as typewriters, computers and motorcycle parts, sculptor Mallari
successfully utilized and married the use of parts from different industries,
even eras, to represent the industrious nature of the dragon unicorn, and the
constant change and reinvention that technology necessitates. The sculpture
sets the tone for the kind of work that will be done in the space, and the
people that will call it their home base.

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As you enter the reception area, what greets you is not your typical
office lobby furniture. The weaves and organic nature of the pieces are a dead
giveaway to the kind of furniture that originates from the renowned artisans of
Cebu. We notice pieces of intricately woven rattan and familiar recurring
patterns borne from the imagination of furniture designer Allan Murillo. Design
cues come mostly from nature, with disparate images inspired by jellyfish for
the co-working area stools, lava flow for an elevated chaise lounge and
earthquake-induced cracks for a corner chair.

The conference room which sits a maximum of 14 people is perched above
the lobby, giving  new meaning to the term high-level meetings. The
conference room, highlighted by a one-piece 12-foot long solid narra table, is
available for rent on an hourly basis.

Noticeable and playful points of the design include grass carpet turf and
three functioning swings that serve to divide the lobby from the work spaces.

Available for co-working are various areas, including dedicated desks
that start-ups and freelancers can rent on a monthly basis.

Serviced offices

Individual serviced offices furnished for four but can sit a
maximum of six people are also available for those looking to start their
operations at the drop of a hat. The offices come with desks and chairs, and
are available for short or long-term lease. These offices are perfect for
start-ups or foreign companies looking for a base of operations in Manila.

Virtual office

Dragon’s Nest also offers virtual office services for those
looking to have an office address without the need for an actual serviced
office or desk. The virtual office is ideal for freelancers and independent
professionals who work from home or hold meetings in coffee shops. Having
Dragon’s Nest as a virtual office gives people the office address that they can
use for their business, use of the lobby and business lounge to meet with
people, and usage of the address to forward mail and packages. They also have
access to dedicated desks and meeting rooms in the co-working area, and can
arrange to hold events at Dragon’s Nest, all for an additional fee.

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“We’ve been getting inquiries from various companies, associations and
individuals who would like to hold their launch events, workshops, even board
meetings here,” said Dragon’s Nest cofounder and COO Monica Aguilar. “We are
ecstatic that we have been received so warmly and we are looking forward to
working with and collaborating with more partners in the future.”

Dragon’s Nest’s future tenants and locators will also have access to a
future UFC gym, auditorium and meeting rooms at the Thames International
Business School where Dragon’s Nest is located.

John, who is also the creator and host of The Final Pitch, is
bullish with the future of the start-ups that they will be working with on the
show, and the start-ups they will be launching on their new TV series The
Venture Builder
, which will also be seen on CNN Philippines.

“More than a facility, we would like for Dragon’s Nest to be a place that
people in the start-up and innovation ecosystem will gravitate to, a
collaborative environment where exciting partnerships will form from the sheer
agglomeration of creative and technical people who visit or hold office here,”
said John.  “Ultimately, we would like for our locators to be able to work
with each other, as well as with us as we scale our start-ups in the
Philippines and across the region.”

Dragon’s Nest is located
at 27 Calle Industria (within Thames International Business School),
Bagumbayan, Quezon City.



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