About a year ago, Kenyan food-tech startup Kune closed a pre-seed funding round worth US$1 million to help it scale after a successful pilot.
Kune was founded in 2020 by French entrepreneur Robin Reecht with the intent to provide Nairobians with access to freshly prepared meals at affordable costs.
However, Kune’s start was not without controversy. Most people seemingly disagreed with Robin Reecht’s views in a Techcrunch interview.
“After three days of coming into Kenya, I asked where I can get great food at a cheap price, and everybody told me it’s impossible. It’s impossible because either you go to the street and you eat street food, which is really cheap but with not-so-good quality, or you order on Uber Eats, Glovo or Jumia, where you get quality but you have to pay at least $10.” Reecht told TechCrunch.
Kenyans rushed to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with what they see as a solution to a non-existent problem even when the business was not up and running.
Kune has recently shifted to third-party apps such as Jumia Food, Glovo, Uber Eats, and Bolt Food, seemingly abandoning its website and app.
Kune’s pledge to dominate the full supply chain, from cooking, to packaging, to delivery with its own drivers and motorbikes, has now been called into question.
I’ve been following the discussion on social media, and the primary question seems to be the promises that stratups make.
Startups may be small businesses, but they can have a huge impact on economic growth. Startups are the epicenters of innovation; they produce jobs, which means more employment, and more employment means a stronger economy; and they have a direct impact on the cities in which they reside.
I reached out to Kune Founder and CEO Robin Reecht to get answers to their shift in business model.
According to Robin Reecht, Kune’s key focus is providing great affordable meals.
“Kune core business has always been about producing great food. Not delivering it. We had to take over the delivery in order to lower the overall cost to final customers.” Robin Reecht told The Netick.
Robin further stated that Kune’s decision to use third-party apps for delivery was due to a terms agreement with the aforementioned platforms and their growing reach. Robin also affirmed that customers were actually prioritized in the thought process.
“Now that we reached enough scale, we received interesting terms from the delivery platforms. With Free delivery on Glovo, or Ksh 60 only on Uber, it wouldn’t have made sense for Kune to keep owning the delivery. We always choose what is best and cheapest for our customers and that is why we moved our on-demand sales to those aggregators.” Robin Reecht said.
About two months ago, Robin Reecht responded to a similar concern and explained Kune’s decision to move to the aggregators.
Kune is also looking to raise $3.5 million from local and international investors to increase production capacity. The company has announced ambitions to expand to additional towns in Kenya within the year.