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‘Overambitious’ Kune Food closes shop in Kenya

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022 09:31 | By
Kune Food
Kune Food employees. PHOTO/Courtesy]

Kune Food, a Kenya-based cloud kitchen, has closed shop after less than a year of operations.

In a statement on Wednesday night, the startup’s founder and CEO Robin Reecht blamed the closure on "economic downturn and investment markets tightening up".

"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," Reecht said.

At least 90 employees have been laid off following the closure, some of whom were employed as late as last month.

"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," Reecht added.

Kune Food investors

In 2021, Kune Food received at least USD1 million in seed funding, boosting its operations across Kenya's capital. Kune’s investors included the pan-African venture capital firm Launch Africa Ventures, who led its pre-seed round last year, Century Oak Capital GmbH and Consonance.

"My second thought goes to our investors. Some of you joined the Kune Food 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," he said.

"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."

Reecht has now offered to sell off Kune Food's IP and assets even as he signs off the market, marking one of the shortest stint of any brand in the Kenyan market

"If you know anyone who could be interested to acquire Kune’s IP or Assets, please reach out," Reecht said.

Kune Food was founded in December 2020 to offer ready-to-eat affordable meals, and conducted a trial in Kenya in the early months of 2021 before officially beginning operations later that year.

At the time of closure, they were still fundraising, targeting $3.5 million (Ksh399 million) to support plans for increased production and a countrywide expansion.

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