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Gung Ho! seeks funds for China plans

NZN 21/09/2016 Fiona Rotherham

Gung Ho! Pizza, founded by Kiwi entrepreneurs Jade Gray and John O'Loghlen, is seeking $US5 million to help expand the brand in Ikea malls as they roll out around China.

It will be the first external investment in the China-based pizza company which the pair and 12 key employees have funded themselves since it was founded six years ago.

They now have four Gung Ho! stores in Beijing selling gourmet pizza, six stores under a separate brand, Pyro, selling a more Americanised, cheaper pizza, and one Lush hamburger bar/restaurant.

In June, Gung Ho! opened its first store within an Ikea LIVAT mall in Beijing and needs the capital to open other stores with Ikea, which has two sites already in Wuhan and Wuxi, one about to open, and plans for more.

It also needs funds to expand its central kitchen in Beijing which prepares items such as shredded cheese, dough, and sauces, that are then used to assemble pizzas in-store.

Chief executive Mr Gray said they're looking for strategic partners and were in negotiations with a couple of potential investors and hope to have struck a deal by Christmas.

When Gung Ho! opened its first store in an Ikea mall, it also started selling other Kiwi brands such as Moa and Tuatara beer, Yealands wine, Whittaker's chocolate, and Zespri kiwifruit and Mr Gray wants to expand that side of the business further.

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