Kune food, Kenya’s fast-growing food startup has today closed down its operations affecting over 90 employees just a few months after raising $3.5 million from local investors to ramp up its production capacity.
The company CEO and founder Robin Reecht took to LinkedIn to make the announcement. Reecht pins the sudden closure to the current economic downtime and the startup’s failure to raise funds to keep up its operations.
Reecht says, “Since the beginning of the year, we sold more than 55,000 meals, and acquired more than 6,000 individual customers and 100 corporate customers. But at $3 per meal, it just wasn’t enough to sustain our growth”.
he adds, “With the current economic downturn and investment markets tightening up, we were unable to raise our next round. Coupled with rising food costs deteriorating our margins, we just couldn’t keep going.”
This announcement comes just four months after the startup started its commercial operations in Kenya a mid a shaky takeoff that irked the Kenyan community on Twitter (KOT)
Kune was founded one year ago after what is said Reecht’s first-ever visit to Kenya which resulted in founding a business that would provide great meals at relatively cheap prices. In an earlier interview with one of the publications, when he came to Kenya, there were very few options to get cheap food that is up to standards which inspired him to found a food-tech startup now Kune.
Kune started off with Just Reecht and a chef delivering food on foot to a nearby office before later transitioning into a big brand and a team of 90 employees. Over the past few months, Kune has slowly ballooned into a stabilized startup, especially with the recent funding that was meant to ramp up its operations. Initially, the startup handled everything including delivery but over the last few months, it had begun using third-party apps like Uber Eats, Glovo and Bolt Food to fulfil their orders.
Reecht says, ” My second thought goes to our investors. Some of you joined the Kune journey when it was just me and a Chef, delivering food on foot to a nearby office. Some others joined later and helped us grow into a food tech startup with a tech platform, a factory, a kitchen studio, 7 distribution hubs, 6000 customers, and a team of 90 people. Not only did you invest in Kune but you gave us your time, brain width, connections, and emotional support. I am deeply sorry that Kune’s vision didn’t come true. To betray your confidence is something for which I will never forgive myself.”
Kune was hoping to increase production capacity and expand its operations beyond Kenya’s capital, Nairobi and targeted a countrywide footprint by 2024 and had invested heavily in seeing this dream ripen. Kune had invested heavily in research and development to ensure it had a fully dedicated in-house team working consistently on menu advancement to meet the changing demands of customers while also bridging the nutrition and price gap. The startup had also established hubs across Nairobi, to be closer to its target client.
“My third thought goes to suppliers, customers, bankers, and partners of any sort who supported us along our way. I’m sincerely sorry for the outcome. Many things could have been done differently, better certainly. The coming months will allow us to reflect on Kune’s failure, and I hope to share about it when the time will be right.” Said Reecht.
Until its indefinite closure, Kune had attracted investors including Pan-African Venture Capital firm Launch Africa Ventures, Century Oal Capital GmbH and Consonance.