Kune, a Kenya-based startup that started as an on-demand food delivery service before changing tack in recent months to become an online restaurant, closed today, affecting 90 staff, some of whom were hired as recently as last month.
The startup was founded in December 2020 and conducted a trial in Kenya in the early months of 2021 before officially starting operations later that year.
In a LinkedIn post, Robin Reecht, the startup’s founder and CEO, announced the shutdown after failing to raise funds to maintain operations, while blaming “economic slowdown and tightening investment markets.”
A year ago, Kune Food raised $1 million in pre-seed funding and also borrowed an undisclosed amount from a bank in Kenya. Earlier this year, the startup announced that it was raising $3.5 million from local and international investors to expand its production capacity.
“Since the beginning of the year, we have sold more than 55,000 meals, acquired more than 6,000 individual customers and 100 business customers. But at $3 per meal, it just wasn’t enough to sustain our growth… Coupled with rising food costs deteriorating our margins, we just couldn’t keep going,” he writes.
Below is Reecht’s full statement.
Sad day. Kune Food closed its doors today.
Since the beginning of the year, we have sold more than 55,000 meals, acquired more than 6,000 individual customers and 100 business customers. But at $3 per meal, it just wasn’t enough to support our growth.
With the current economic downturn and tighter investment markets, we were unable to increase our next round. Coupled with rising food prices deteriorating our margins, we just couldn’t keep going.
My first thoughts are with my team. You put your heart and soul into building the Kune that so many people have worshipped. I’m deeply sorry it didn’t work out.
To all my fellow entrepreneurs, please check out Kune’s “Employee Page” on LinkedIn and see if your recruitment needs could be filled by some of our team members. I know these are difficult times for you too. But they are great people who will bring tremendous value to your business. You can call me if you need references on any 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. Others joined later and helped us grow into a foodtech startup with a technology platform, a factory, a cooking studio, 7 distribution hubs, 6000 customers and a team of 90 people. Not only have you invested in Kune, but you have given us your time, your brains, your relationships and your emotional support. I am deeply sorry that Kune’s vision did not come true. Betraying your trust is something I will never forgive myself for.
My third thought goes to the suppliers, customers, bankers and partners of all kinds who have supported us throughout our journey. I am sincerely sorry for the result.
Many things could have been done differently, certainly better. The coming months will allow us to reflect on Kune’s failure, and I hope to talk about it when the time comes.
If you know of anyone who might be interested in acquiring Kune’s intellectual property or assets, please PM us.
This is a developing story.