Irish start-up Zazu Ents awarded $10,000 Covid-relief grant

5 Feb 2021

Ivano Cafolla, CEO and founder of Zazu Ents. Image: Zazu Ents

The start-up, which helps hospitality clients manage bookings and orders, was the only European SME in this round to receive the grant.

Zazu Ents has received a $10,000 grant from US investment firm KKR for its hospitality platform. The Irish company helps restaurants and bars with bookings, payments, ticketing, collection and delivery through an app for Android and iOS.

Founded in 2016 by CEO Ivano Cafolla, the start-up is currently based at NovaUCD at University College Dublin. Before establishing Zazu, Cafolla was the director of events company

Zazu Ents was one of 52 awardees in the KKR Small Business Builders programme, which is part of the firm’s $50m relief effort for SMEs impacted by Covid-19. Zazu was the only European business to receive an award in this second round of grants. To date, the programme has awarded 107 grants to small businesses around the world.

“To be the only European business to receive this grant from a company the size of KKR is a massive endorsement to Zazu and what we are doing,” Cafolla said. “I believe this will help us in our next round of funding, which we plan to complete in the coming months.

“We already have some really exciting big brands, restaurants and nightclubs in Europe signing up with Zazu and I believe the year ahead is going to be a very exciting one for the company.”

Co-president and co-COO at KKR, Joe Bae, said that the firm’s relief effort was set up in 2020 to help people and businesses facing challenges because of the pandemic.

“Nearly a year later, the need for this support is at an all-time high and we continue to stay focused on caring for small businesses and working with non-profits that are having an outsized impact,” he added.

Zazu’s clients in Ireland include Sophie’s, Asador, The Exchequer, Angelina’s and Xico. Last year, new features were rolled out on the Zazu app to help hotels, restaurants and bars reopen after the initial Covid-19 lockdown. These included a WhatsApp waitlist and tools for business owners to monitor capacity and the time groups spent at tables.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021