The FINANCIAL - Promising Georgian Start-Ups

Promising Georgian Start-Ups

Promising Georgian Start-Ups

1. Vakhtang Meladze, 28, Director of GEO Plast

Meladze started producing bottles in 2013 and founded the company GEO Plast with initial capital of USD 70,000. The company produces PET bottles (bottles made of Polyethylene terephthalate) and distributes them to different wholesale markets. At the moment, the Kakheti wholesale market is the largest buyer of GEO Plast bottles.

The bottles are designed for pouring alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. As Meladze says, this is a family business in which, together with him, his father, uncle and cousin are involved. GEO Plast started producing bottles several months ago and is in the stage of introducing PET bottles to the market. The idea of producing PET bottles came about as Meladze’s uncle produces lemonades himself and sells his production in the regions of Georgia.

Before starting production of the bottles, Meladze was involved in tires and the second hand clothing business. He also worked at Basis Bank.

Meladze graduated from Black Sea International University, from the faculty of Business Administration. At the same time he was studying Economics and Informatics at Tbilisi State University.

2. Giorgi Jokhadze, 27, founder of Vita Logistics

Together with four friends Jokhadze founded Vita Logistics, the international shipping company, in 2012 with initial capital of just GEL 200. As a result of the right management, hard work and with the support of TBC Leasing, the company could purchase its first truck. Jokhadze and his friends chose the Georgia-Russia mainland as the main destination for their cargo. Despite encountering many challenges, after two years Vita Logistics has become one of the leaders on the market. Within a two year period of time the company could employ 30 people (with an average salary of GEL 2,000) and pays GEL 300,000 into the state budget. Jokhadze and his friends increased the annual turnover of the company to GEL 10 million, investing GEL 1 million in their own tracks and increased the turnover capital to GEL 400,000.

Jokhadze graduated from Georgian Technical University with his Bachelor’s degree and ISET (International School of Economics at TSU), where he attended a two-year Master’s programme in economics.

3. Irakli Kipiani, 27, founder of Prime Line

Irakli Kipiani’s family has been involved in the realization of medicaments since 2009. To expand their activities Irakli Kipiani together with his family founded the medicine importer company Prime Line and established a business relationship with the German manufacturer of pharmaceutical products Doctor Walz. Since 2013 Prime Line has become the official representative of Doctor Walz in Georgia. The initial capital for starting up this business amounted to EUR 7,000.

Irakli Kipiani graduated from Tbilisi State University with a Bachelor’s degree in physics. Later, he continued studying at ISET for his Master’s degree. He studied at Karlovy University and is currently continuing his studies in Italy, at the University of Venice.

4. Vakho Vakhtangishvili, 26, founder and CEO of Leavingstone

In April 2008, at the age of 20, Vakhtangishvili along with three friends started a new venture - digital agency TOPgroup, providing digital marketing and web solutions to Georgian companies. In 2010, due to rising demand for digital and social media marketing the new brand - LeavingStone - was created under TOPgroup that, for now, represents one of the leading digital agencies in Georgia.

Vakhtangishvili graduated from the European School of Management (at present ESM Business School under Free University of Tbilisi).

Alongside his education in June 2007 Vakhtangishvili started working as a copyrighter and later as a project manager at Wizard Advertising, planning and executing marketing activities for leading Georgian companies like MagtiGSM, AldagiBCI, Populi etc. After 6 months of work experience at the agency Vakhtangishvili decided to quit due to the need for freedom to do what he enjoys most.

The initial investment for establishing LeavingStone consisted of GEL 600 out of which GEL 200 was spent on registering the business and the other GEL 400 was spent on the rent of the office. Vakhtangishvili believes that capital is not too important for start-ups and especially for companies that sell a service. He says that what’s more important is to be purposeful and hardworking, and in that way the company will gain a profit.

LeavingStone plans and performs digital marketing activities for top companies in the region, including: JSC TBC Bank; JSC Bank Constanta; Geocell (TeliaSonera); Azercell (TeliaSonera); JSC Silknet; GPI Holding etc.

Vakhtangishvili believes that the web and online in general is a terrific place for brands to exist.

5. Nino Arabuli, 30, founder of the hotel Arabuli ArtHouse

Nino Arabuli is opening up her new hotel Arabuli ArtHouse in June 2014. She is involved in a family business. She started working with her cousin Berdia Arabuli and uncle Shota Arabuli. As this is a family business, Nino Arabuli used the family’s surname Arabuli for her company. Arabuli ArtHouse is a hotel which aims to promote Khevsureti and its culture among the guests who visit the hotel.

Nino Arabuli says that Khevsureti is a place where nothing has been done before. She always wanted to promote her homeland and this is the reason why she is opening a hotel there. She is willing to create many touristic projects in the Khevsureti region and raise awareness of the region not only among foreigners but among Georgians as well.

Arabuli graduated from the business faculty of Ilia University in tourism management. Before she started her own business, she used to work as an incoming tour manager in TravelShop. Prior to that, she was working at Intertour in the position of tour manager there.