We are a team of seasoned professionals with significant global and local business knowledge and deep SME investment expertise.
Jeffrey Liebert is the CEO of the fund manager Gazelle Finance and successfully raised $42M in capital commitments for the Gazelle Fund, which invests in SMEs in Central Asia, Caucasus, and East Europe. Prior to this Jeffrey was a co-founder of an alternative energy and carbon offset project development company, Verdeo Group, which was sold in 2011 to Sindicatum. Prior to Verdeo Group, Jeffrey was a Vice President for Climate Change Capital’s (acquired by Bunge) $1 billion carbon fund, where he was responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of industrial energy efficiency and methane gas utilization projects throughout Eurasia.
As an Investment Officer at IFC, Jeffrey led the development of a $30M in-house clean-tech venture capital fund that is now IFC’s Cleantech Investment Group with over $200M AUM. He structured a $465M energy efficiency finance and renewable energy risk sharing facility (CHUEE) with $46M of IFC capital in first and second loss positions with Chinese banks: Industrial Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, and Bank of Beijing. The deal was the runner-up for the 2006 Financial Times Sustainable Deal of the Year Award. As of today the facility has mobilized over $6.3B in financing in over 200 projects.
Before IFC, Jeffrey consulted to multinational corporations on market entry strategies for China and established and managed textile factories throughout Central Asia and China. Jeffrey served in the Peace Corps in Mongolia immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union, holds an MBA from Wharton Business School, a BA in Russian Studies and International Relations from Tufts University, and speaks Mandarin, Mongolian, and Russian. Jeffrey serves on the board of The Taimen Fund, a conservation organization operating in Mongolia that he helped to establish in 2003.
Miranda Kherkheulidze joined Gazelle Finance in April 2017 and serves as its Finance Director. She brings over 15 years’ of experience working in the banking and finance industries, including: SME and corporate banking, credit, risk and financial management, and corporate finance. At different times Miranda has held various leadership positions in two of the leading banks in Georgia -- Bank Republic Société Générale Group and TBC Bank.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance Miranda worked as the Head of Corporate Underwriting Department in TBC Bank where she was responsible for overseeing the Bank’s corporate portfolio of over USD 1.0 billion managing risk assessment and the structuring of deals up to USD 50M, and served as a full voting member of the highest tier Credit Committee with individual decision-making authority of USD 4M. Prior to TBC Bank Miranda was leading the Counterparty Risk Assessment Department for corporate and SME clients at Bank Republic, Société Générale (SG) Group, Georgia. Along with being responsible for assessing the origination and creating a high-quality portfolio, she was in charge of portfolio-level risk assessment, validation and maintenance of the risk rating and provisioning processes, as well as daily communication and reporting responsibilities to Risk Supervision division at SG Headquarters. Miranda revised and implemented the Bank’s overall credit granting, portfolio classification, monitoring and rating policies, risk assessment methodology, criteria and procedures.
As a Bank Advisor at CGF (Credit Guarantee Fund) Miranda provided consulting to three leading partner banks in Georgia, mainly in SME underwriting standards, loan assessment and approval processes. CGF was an SME financing and development project funded by KFW Entwicklungsbank and Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (Sparkassenstiftung) targeting the Georgian and Armenian markets. Miranda supervised optimal investment of the Fund’s resources to Georgian SMEs through partner-banks, as well as managed periodic monitoring of the Fund’s portfolio and the overall financial performance of partner-banks.
Miranda also brings corporate finance expertise to Gazelle Finance having worked as the CFO for two operating companies: Iberia Construction (residential real estate development) and Treiquest Int. Group (multi-discipline construction and engineering).
Miranda holds a B.A. in Production Management from Free University of Georgia, Diploma of Business Economist from Berufsakademie Mosbach (DHBW) of Baden-Württemberg, Germany and MBA with specialization in Finance from Grenoble Graduate School of Business (GGSB). A native Georgian speaker Miranda is fluent in English and has good command of Russian and German.
COO and CIO, Georgia
Natia Janelidze joined Gazelle Finance in October 2015 as the Chief Investment Officer for Georgia and in October 2017 she successfully executed Gazelle Finance’s first investment in Georgia in Degusto, a fast casual restaurant chain. Natia has over 10 years of professional banking experience in SME and Corporate financing and has held senior leadership positions at TBC Bank and Bank Republic (part of Societe Generale Group), two of the leading banks in Georgia.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Natia worked for over seven years at Bank Republic/Societe Generale in Georgia, holding a diverse set of senior management positions, with a particular focus on SMEs. Natia served as Head of the SME Credit Department of the bank, coordinating and managing over 40% of the bank’s total portfolio representing more than $30 million in loans assets, overseeing the front and back office staff engaged in sales and analytics, and participating on credit committees. During her tenure at the bank, Natia also served as Head of the SME and Corporate Portfolio Management Departments, as Head of the Quality Management Department, and as Special File Coordinator, where she was responsible for restructuring the loan for one of the biggest corporate clients of the Bank. Prior to joining Bank Republic/Societe Generale, Natia worked at TBC Bank, first as an SME Loan Officer where she originated a portfolio of loans operating in the branch office in Kutaisi, one of the largest regional centers outside of Tbilisi. She rose quickly in TBC Bank, starting with a promotion to become Head of the SME Development Department in Tbilisi, where she managed a team of 15 credits officers and back office staff across eight Tbilisi and regional branch offices with a portfolio of roughly $400 million in loans assets. She then was promoted to be the Head of the Corporate Sales Department, where she was responsible for originating new clients and expanding deposit, loan and off-balance sheet portfolio of the bank, and increasing interest and commission income. Natia holds an MBA from University of Missouri-Columbia in the United States and Ph.D in Finance and Banking from Georgian Technical University. Natia is fluent in English, Russian and Georgian.
Natia has investment experience in following market segments: SME, manufacturing, agribusiness and retail.
Tigran Hovhannisyan joined Gazelle Finance in May 2020 as the Chief Investment Officer for Armenia.
He brings in almost 25 years of experience in Banking and Finance. Tigran has PhD in Theoretical Physics and an MBA, Finance and OPIM, from Wharton Business School. He speaks Armenian, Russian, English and some German; enjoys martial arts, swimming and history.
Tigran was a founding member of the first investment banking group in Armenia - Cascade Capital Holdings and the founding head of Cascade Credit UCO. He then worked in equity and debt research with some of the top investment and commercial banks in Russia, including: Troika Dialog, Uralsib Capital, Bank of Moscow, and VTB.In 2017 he returned to Yerevan as the founding head of HSBC’s distressed assets unit (reporting to CEO), before finally joining Gazelle Finance. In 2019 his team at HSBC Armenia was recognized as the best for generating c. 20% of Bank’s normalized (real cash) net Income for FY2019. Tigran started his banking career in 1995 among the first 14 local staff to start HSBC Armenia Bank. His career with HSBC Group includes the secondment to then BBME Dubai and the internship with HSBC Republic in New York.
As a Senior Public Research Analyst in Moscow, Tigran covered over 20 Russian stocks in FMCG, Retail, Agro, Pharmaceutical, Real Estate Development and Construction sectors. This involved supporting a few debt and equity issues of USD200-300 mln per issuer; and several private placement deals. As an in-house analyst, Tigran covered the sales of Kopeika retail chain to Russia’s largest X5 retail group for c. USD1.5bln, providing arguments to boost the sales price for 20%. Later Tigran headed the Industry Analysis at Bank of Moscow. He led the team through the issuance of c USD6bln of long-term structured loans to Russian SME, with over 700 cases analyzed and 100 loans issued. His prudent approach allowed the early discovery of increasing risks in sub-contractor sector and led to proactive recovery of c. USD1.3bln in NPLs just before the 2014 crisis. He took part in the restructuring and recapitalization of VTB LTIF that allowed to recognize c USD600mln in capital gains.
Tigran serves as an adjunct lecturer of Finance, including at AUA, MSU & AGEC.
Svyatoslav joined Gazelle Finance in December 2021 as Chief Investment Officer for Ukraine to head Gazelle investment strategy expansion into Ukraine, as envisioned by Gazelle Fund II. Svyatoslav brings with him over 15 years of experience working in private equity, management consulting and investment advisory services.
Svyatoslav most recently served as Country Manager/Advisor for Ukraine at Abris Capital Partners, a leading Central European private equity fund. He holds supervisory board positions at three portfolio companies at Abris, and beyond that spearheaded debt restructuring projects, led M&A discussions as part of the companies expansion strategy, and eventually secured fund’s exit from two investments.
Svyatoslav started his career as a management consultant/investment analyst at Spektor, Sachs & Co in 2005, which later merged withBain & Co as it expanded into the CIS region in 2007, and conducted many of the commercial due diligence projects for large international and regional private equity funds. He then moved to the private equity industry, becoming a Senior Associate at Icon Private Equity in 2008, before enrolling for his MBA studies at Harvard Business School in 2009, from where he graduated in 2011.
He also holds an MA in International Economics from Kyiv National Economic University..
Independent Investment Committee Member
Rifat Utiushev joined Gazelle Finance in July 2014 and served as its Chief Investment Officer for Kyrgyzstan until the end of 2016. Currently Rifat serves in the capacity of the independent Investment Committee member until such time that Gazelle launces investment activities in Kyrgyzstan. Rifat has over 20 years of professional experience in corporate finance, banking, and private equity.
Prior to joining Gazelle, Rifat served as the Chief Financial Officer of the $300M Development Fund of the Kyrgyz Republic, where he managed over 20 people. Prior to joining the Development Fund he co-founded and served as the Chief Financial Officer of Yuzno-Kyrgyzskiy Cement company, based in the southern Kyrgyz regional center of Osh, where he raised and structured $110M of international financing from China Export-Import Bank, Kazakh BTA-bank and Investment Fund of Kazakhstan. Rifat led the sale of the company to an international investment fund successfully achieving the return expectations of his shareholders. Rifat also worked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for 7 years, where he financed various projects in tourism, manufacturing, and other industries, including one of first equity investments by EBRD in real estate and construction materials in Kyrgyzstan.
Rifat holds an MBA degree from Bishkek International School of Business and Management. He is fluent in Russian, English, Kyrgyz and Uzbek. He serves on the board of BTA-Bank in Kyrgyzstan.
Rifat has investment experience in following market segments: tourism, manufacturing, real estate, and retail.
Deputy CFO, Georgia
Shorena Kalandarishvili joined Gazelle Finance in June 2018 and now serves as its Deputy CFO. Shorena brings over 6 years of diverse financial sector experience from working in the economic consulting industry and financial auditing, while living and working in the USA, UK, and Georgia.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Shorena worked as a Senior Financial Auditor at KPMG Georgia’s audit department. She acted as an audit in-charge of SME companies including an investment company in agriculture, online loans and MFO companies. In this role, she has led teams of up to three people, while being on the front line with the client as well as being responsible to deliver audit projects for review to the KPMG Georgia’s management. She was responsible for budgeting and planning the project as well as for its completion. Shorena also collaborated with Tax, Legal and Information Risk Management specialists when the engagement required their involvement. During her five years at KPMG Georgia, she gained fundamental technical knowledge of international financial reporting, while building team management and client relationship skills.
In the summer of 2013, Shorena interned in the Office of the Chief Economist at EBRD in London supporting the political economy chapter of the EBRD’s flagship report – Transition Report – with econometric analysis. Her interest in transition economies and SME support and financing started during her early days in college, when she wrote an essay about developing entrepreneurship in Georgia, which won 2nd place in World Bank Youth to Youth (Y2Y) global essay competition among 100+ participants. Later she concluded her undergraduate studies with a thesis in Economics on the Determinants of Entrepreneurship in Developed and Developing Countries, which was awarded Samuel Bowles Prize for the best thesis in Economics.
Shorena holds a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Smith College. As part of her B.A. program, she completed her junior year of college at London School of Economics as a General Course student. A native Georgian speaker, Shorena is fluent in English and Russian, and has a conversational knowledge of German.
Senior Investment Officer, Georgia
Giorgi Jobava joined Gazelle Finance in September 2017 as a Senior Investment Officer in Tbilisi, Georgia. Giorgi brings 7 years of professional experience working with two of the leading banks in Georgia TBC Bank and VTB Bank, focused on corporate and SME banking.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Giorgi worked at TBC Bank, the largest bank in Georgia, in the position of Senior Analyst in the Corporate Department. He played a significant role in the successful execution of several big and strategically important loans for the bank. Giorgi managed a portfolio of USD 120 million comprising several big clients of the bank. His primary focus while working with TBC were the following sectors: Telecommunication, Financial Institutions, Transport and Logistics.
Prior to TBC bank, Giorgi worked as a business analyst and then as a Corporate Banker at VTB Bank Georgia. He was involved in structuring the largest corporate deals of the Bank. Giorgi managed a portfolio of about USD 25 million comprising with approximately 12 clients.
Giorgi holds B.A. in business administration from Tbilisi State University. He has finished several Master’s level courses in Sweden (Linnaeus University) in Business Administration. He successfully completed the courses in Financial Management and Financial Modeling.
Giorgi is fluent in Georgian, Russian and English languages.
Mikheil Tamasidze joined Gazelle Finance in March 2018 as a Senior Investment Officer in Tbilisi, Georgia. Mikheil has 9 years of professional banking experience in SME and Corporate financing and has held various positions at JSC VTB Bank Georgia, subsidiary of VTB Group.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Mikheil worked at the corporate business development department at VTB Bank, holding a position of Senior Corporate Analyst. He managed portfolio of more than USD 45 million comprising of companies in different industries. Mikheil conducted respective business analysis and led corporate client’s recovery processes with creating detailed cash budget and controlling its implementation daily.
Prior to the corporate banking experience, Mikheil worked as SME Business Department and Trade Finance Department Analyst at VTB Bank Georgia.
Mikheil holds BBA degree with a major in finance from the Caucasus University. He also successfully completed Advanced Corporate Finance course at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Financial Modeling and Valuation courses at different Universities.
Mikheil is fluent in Georgian, English and Russian languages
Head of Sustainable Investments & ESG, Georgia
Head of Sustainable Development and ESG, Georgia
Diana Apkhazava has joined Gazelle Finance in September 2018 as a Senior Accountant in Tbilisi, Georgia. In January 2020 she was promoted to Investment Officer/Analyst position and in July 2022 she was promoted to Head of Sustainable Development and ESG. Diana brings over 6 years of financial and tax analyst working experience in leading consulting firms of Georgia.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Diana worked as a Senior Tax Consultant at KPMG Georgia, one of the leading big four accounting firms, where she supervised accounting projects, provided compliance and consulting services, worked on complex tax issues and was actively involved in clients’ communication processwith Georgian Tax Authorities.
Prior to working at KPMG Georgia, Diana worked as Audit Assistant at Bakashvili&Company LTD audit firm, with responsibilities including but not limited of preparing audit working papers, working on clients’ financial reports and monthly/annual statutory tax reports.
Diana holds an MBA degree with a major in finance from Ilia State University and bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Georgia. She is working towards becoming a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (she has passed the F1-F9 ACCA papers to date).
Diana is fluent in Georgian, English, and Russian languages.
Chief Accountant, Georgia
Business Development Manager
Anna Datunashvili joined Gazelle Finance in July 2022 and serves as Business Development Manager. Anna brings over 6 years of diverse financial experience with multiple companies, including accounting, investor relations, financial analysis, internal audit, treasury and crypto operations management.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Anna worked at Bitfury Group in the Finance Department as a Finance Coordinator. She was in charge of all treasury-related activities, such as monitoring and managing bank relationships and liquidity management; cash management; debt facility management; analyzing all financial data; monitoring all transactions and preparing appropriate reports for same; balance sheet/income statement reconciliations; participation in month-end, quarter-end, and year-end audits and group audits.
Prior to joining Bitfury Group, Anna was an advisor at BDO Georgia. She worked with a variety of local and international companies, performing the following tasks: bookkeeping in accounting software, preparing and submitting monthly tax returns, daily financial or tax consultation, bank transfers, preparing monthly or quarterly financial reports, and payroll & HR administration service.
Anna also worked for Bank Republic, Société Générale (SG) Group, as an assistant in the Retail Credit Risk Analysis Department.
Anna holds a B.A. with honors in Economics from Tbilisi State University with a concentration in Macroeconomics. A native Georgian speaker, Anna is fluent in English and Russian.
Mikayel joined Gazelle Finance UCO LLC in July 2019 as an Investment Officer.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Mikayel was the Head of Financial Underwriting Unit and Member of Underwriting Committee of Export Insurance Agency of Armenia. As the Head of Financial Underwriting Unit, Mikayel was responsible for the financial due diligence on trade credit insurance and pre-export financing insurance limits including limits subject to approval by EIA’s reinsurer SWISS RE. At EIA Mikayel was managing USD 12 mln insurance portfolio dealing with around 40 exporting companies.
Prior to working at Export Insurance Agency of Armenia, Mikayel worked as a Credit analyst in the Project financing department at ArmSwissBank CJSC.
Mikayel started his career in the financial sector of Armenia in 2011 as a Specialist in the Micro-financing department at ProCredit Bank Armenia.
Mikayel holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the American University of Armenia. He also holds a B.A. in Economics from the Armenian State University of Economics.
Mikayel is fluent in Armenian, Russian and English languages.
Marianna Arakelyan joined Gazelle Finance in May 2022 and serves as an administrative director/ESG analyst. Marianna brings over 11 years of administrative experience from working at telecommunication and production companies in Armenia.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Marianna worked at Bacon Product LLC as an HR specialist/team leader. At Bacon Product she was monitoring all Human Resource functions and was involved in project and covenant compliance monitoring, environmental and social compliance, development of HR polices, compensation review of the team, trainings, and development plans.
Prior to Bacon Product LLC, Marianna initially worked as an office manager/executive assistant to CEO at Ucom LLC, one of the largest telecommunication companies in Armenia. As an office manager she was organizing and coordinating administration duties and office procedures, as well as assisting the organization’s HR and finance functions by keeping personnel records up to date, arranging interviews and updating financial documents.
Marianna holds a Master’s degree from Yerevan State Linguistic University. She has successfully completed “Staff Management Academy” course by Gortsq LLC.
Marianna is fluent in Armenian, Russian and English languages.
Investment Officer, Armenia
Arthur Hayrapetyan Joined Gazelle Finance in February 2022 as an Investment Officer in Yerevan, Armenia. Arthur has more than 5 years of professional banking experience and has held various positions at two leading Armenian banks Ameriabank CJSC and HSBC Bank of Armenia CJSC. Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Arthur worked as a Branch Supervisor at HSBC Bank. He had a significant contribution in arrangements of several cooperations with different companies, as well as leading a team of 12 members. During 4 years working at HSBC Bank he won 2 nominations, by becoming the Employee of the month and the Best employee of Retail Department for Year 2020.
Prior to working at HSBC Bank Arthur worked as a Loan Officer at Ameriabank CJSC.
Arthur holds Master’s Degree in Public Finance Management from Public Administration Academy of Republic of Armenia, as well as B.A in economics from the Armenian State University of Economics.
Arthur is fluent in Armenian, Russian and English languages.