The leading local restaurant chain Degusto opened new branch with the financial assistance of Gazelle Fund LP.
The opening ceremony of the restaurant was attended by Giorgi Cherkezishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Giorgi Mushkudiani, CFO of Degusto, Jeffrey Liebert, CEO of Gazelle Finance, Natia Janelidze, Investment Director of Gazelle Finance, Ian C. Kelly, the United States Ambassador to Georgia, Jos Douma, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Georgia and Davit Saganelidze, Executive Director of the Partnership Fund.
Gazelle Fund LP has invested 700,000 USD in LLC Gurmano to expand its restaurant chain.
Giorgi Cherkezishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development has noted at the opening ceremony of Degusto that their institution welcomes this project. He is pleased that the Partnership Fund is engaged in the project. According to him, this is a good opportunity for small and medium business development in Georgia.
Degusto CFO Giorgi Mushkudiani declares, that the combined financing and partnering solution that Gazelle Finance provided to the company enables them to rapidly grow the business.
“The combined financing and partnering solution that Gazelle Finance provided to our company enables us to rapidly grow our business here in Georgia. Our ultimate goal is to provide healthy, freshly-made meals”, - Giorgi Mushkudiani says.
Natia Janelidze, Investment Director of Gazelle Finance, focused attention on promoting the local brand and noted that investment, along with commercial effect, would support generating new jobs.
“Degusto is the first successful investment of Gazelle Fund LP, we support development of the local brand. Additionally, they will open 7 outlets in Tbilisi. Degusto is a company, which offers healthy and affordable Georgian cuisine to the customers. The goal of the investment is to create additional jobs besides the commercial effect”, - Natia Janelidze, Investment Director of Gazelle Finance notes.
Gazelle Fund LP’s investment provides growth capital that will enable Degusto to rapidly expand its footprint in the Tbilisi market and grow from five to twelve outlets in less than two years while generating more than 100 new jobs.
As David Saganelidze, Executive Director of the Partnership Fund declares, it is pleasant that Gazelle Fund LP is represented in Georgia. According to him, opening of local fast casual restaurant chain in Georgia will support tourism development as well.
“We welcome Gazelle Fund LP. It should be noted, that U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), two Dutch Investment Banks and the Partnership Fund are participating in Gazelle Fund LP. It is focused to invest 70% of the financial assets in Georgia. Development of Degusto chain is rather interesting, we all see tourism is raising and existence of more local fast casual restaurant chains is better”, - Davit Saganelidze declares.
Ian C. Kelly, the United States Ambassador to Georgia positively evaluates opening of new outlet of Degusto. According to him, this is the first American investment of Gazelle and they are glad that OPIC also makes an investment in Georgia.
Jos Douma, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Georgia congratulated the audience opening of Dugusto. He talked about the magnitude of cooperation of large financial institute, the Partnership Fund and Dutch development bank (FMO) and hoped that the relationship would be deepened.
It worth to mention, that the country of Georgia has been a leader in the region in implementing economic reforms to attract foreign direct investment. Gazelle Fund LP is an excellent example of cross-border cooperation between local and international institutional investors. It is backed by some of the leading European and U.S. development finance institutions, including, FMO (Dutch development bank), Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and one of Georgia’s largest state financial institutions, JSC Partnership Fund.
Degusto was established in 2015 and it operates five fast casual Georgian cuisine restaurants in Tbilisi. Degusto offers healthy and affordable Georgian and European-influenced cuisine using locally sourced ingredients in a modern setting.
Degusto’s format addresses the gap between inexpensive fast food restaurants and full-service sit-down restaurants. In addition, Degusto has a thriving business selling prepared meals and providing catering services to corporate clients, including the leading supermarket chain in Georgia—Carrefour.
Degusto’s Georgian design accents and attentive and friendly service attracts a loyal and growing customer base.
With Georgia’s GDP growing at a steady clip of more than 4 percent and tourism levels increasing by more than 20 percent in 2017, Degusto is poised to benefit from increased demand from a rising middle class and a more diverse international clientele.
Gazelle Finance is an investment fund manager that manages private equity funds in the Eurasia region targeting a double bottom line goals of (i) financial returns for the funds it manages, and (ii) enhanced prosperity for the communities where the funds’ portfolio companies do business. Gazelle Finance has established Gazelle Fund LP to provide risk capital to growing, yet underserved, small and medium enterprises in the Eurasia region. Gazelle Finance maintains offices in Georgia and Armenia, and is in the process of expanding to other countries in the region (www.gazellefinance.com). Gazelle Finance was established with generous financial support from Eurasia Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports small business development and civic engagement in Eurasia and the Middle East. (www.eurasia.org/gazellefinance)