It has become an obvious thing to do in Kenya, particularly for upcoming startups that are making key strides in expanding their business: push for a fund drive, secure millions of shillings from global VCs that are sometimes not aware of the intricacies and market dynamics in Kenya or the larger Africa, and then push the news to global sites to capture the ears of funder, potential VCs and overall non-Kenyan/African audience.
Afterward, the news trickle down to local media when interest has waned. And as it has been said before, this has to do with agency operation, mainly from the VC’s side. It has also been known that the announcements are coordinated to air at the time when people in the West are awake to garner more interest. Obviously, this makes local reveals an afterthought, and no one really thinks about us here. And before you think I am being salty, hear me out first.
Which brings me to the main agenda of this post. Food start-up Kune has announced that it has netted a pre-seed funding amount to more than KES 100 million. This is a substantial amount for a company that was started less than six months ago. The funds have been provided by Launch Africa Ventures, which also include other members such as Consonance and Century Oak Capital GmbH.
From the company’s website, Kune’s mission is to ‘build a new food model. Tastier. Healthier. Affordable.’ But that is not where the meat is at (the whole interview has been published in the first link attached above). The hilarious part is the interview that was used to develop the story and the gaps that the Nairobi food market was missing to guarantee the existence of Kune.
A multitude of discrepancies
Founded by Robin Reecht (not a local), Kune’s started because the founder and CEO arrived in Kenya and couldn’t get ‘great food at a cheap price’ and that everybody told him it was impossible.
Anybody who lives in Nairobi would tell you there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of easily accessible and cheap spots that anybody can have a meal.
He says that Nairobi street foods can be accessed, yes, but are of poor quality.
So those who need better food quality have to order meals via delivery servuces such as Uber Eats, Jumia Food or Glovo. And that a customer needs to pay ‘at least $10 (KES 1000).’
Robin brings us into how the company started, and that is by making, packaging and delivering KES 400 meals to customers within the city (if we are being honest, there are many places that you can get a happy meal at half the price – but I guess that was never checked).
The story goes on and on about initial successes and hurdles, the scaling part that proved challenging, and the biggest of all: expansion plans that also needed more funds from, you know where.
All the slander, the not-so-true innuendos and statements are plastered in the article, obviously to appeal funders with deep pockets.
And that is what people are uncomfortable with.
Check this statement out: Once launched, the company will build its own fleet of 100 electric motorcycles by early 2022. In addition, there are plans to hire 100 female drivers.
There is absolutely nothing new with the model because restaurants in the city and the outskirts have been running their operations just like that, especially when they were closed down at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, how about the reporting that Kenya does not have any culinary shows? Who shall tell them? – because they exist!
In Kenya, we don’t have any culinary show. So, we are going to take that position as the culinary major of Kenya, and how do you create this? By creating amazing content, which we plan to do by creating videos and writing articles on how to cook or maybe just food business in general.
You can extrapolate what the interview means or why it was made to sound so.
And Kenyans aren’t having it. Here are some reactions: