Amid the Uproar, Kune Gets Acquisition Proposal to Sustain the Business The closure of Kenya-based foodtech startup, Kune Food, which came as a surprise, has sparked loads of questions and concerns from many.
Last year, Kune closed a $1 million pre-seed funding and this added to the reactions from many, wondering how the fund was utilized. But is a business easy to sustain without the right strategies? Starting with the questions from Wangari Stewart, Chief Product Officer at Maisha Meds — “What does Kune even mean? How do you pronounce Kune? Who was your target market? Is there an actual problem with access to cheap food for an ordinary Kenya? Did you have sceptics in the team? I have so many questions, I hope you will share these lessons.” Edwin H. Dande, CEO at Cytonn Investments, who also wondered about the story behind the name ‘Kune’ said: “This is a lot of hullabaloo about nothing really. This was a start up, and not just a start up, it was a start up trying a new idea… foodtech, so of course, odds of survival are very low.” Directing this to Robin Reecht, he emphasized: “This is entrepreneurship, if you know you did your best, you confront your realities and move on. Only death and taxes are guaranteed, the rest you battle through in the end you succeed or fail. Best comment for me, ‘Kenya needs people with guts to try new things.” Partly blaming the failure on lack of cooperation and collaboration from Kenyan Banks and even billionaires in the country, Karumba Kinyua, Managing Partner at Pinehill Consulting wrote: “The model you use is what unicorns have used elsewhere and succeeded. I wish we had 10,000 people like you starting up in Kenya. As usual, many would fail, some would do fine and a few would succeed a lot.” Speaking from experience, Joseph Kakai, Cost and Stock Controller at Dari Limited wrote: “Kenyan companies lack the distinct professionalism that can ensure a company remains profitable and with a guarantee of continuity.” Conclusively, this is a wake-up call for all startup founders already in the business and those inspiring to dive in. In the midst of the uproar, Mark Pascal commented: “I have a partnership offer for Kune. An acquisition by Araka.app, so we save the jobs for over 90 people, and build a bigger company together.” Will Kune rise again? Or will Reecht delve into a different country to boost his innovative solutions? We wait and watch. Robin Reecht’s full disclosure reads: “Sad day. Kune Food closed down today. Since the beginning of the year, we sold more than 55,000 meals, 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. 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. My first thoughts go to my team. You put your heart and soul into building the Kune that so many people loved. I’m deeply sorry it didn’t work out. To all my fellow entrepreneurs, please check the Kune “employee page” on LinkedIn and see if your recruitment needs could be filled by some of our team members. I know those are difficult times for you too. But they are terrific people who will bring tremendous value to your company. You can call me if you need any reference on a Kune employee. 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 foodtech 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.