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See The Kenyan Food Tech Startup That Raised $1 Million in Pre-Seed Round

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In Croatia, Kune is the plural word of the national currency. However, in Kenya, it’s the name of a fast-growing food tech startup. Kune seeks to bridge the gap between quality food and affordable prices. The company, which was founded in December 2020, is based in Nairobi. Their primary agenda is to deliver ready-to-eat food to individuals, retail, and corporate customers.

What Is Food Tech?

food tech startup in Africa

Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

Food tech is an offshoot of agrifood, a sector that aims to disrupt conventional ways of farming. Consequently, food tech aims to leverage technology to meet the growing demand for sustainable food. Startups in this sector use machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other technologies to provide on-demand ready-to-eat meals. The food tech industry is still growing in Africa. With the increasing adoption of applications, more companies that leverage them are coming up. A good example is Kune.

How Kune Food Tech Startup Is Bridging The Nutrition Gap

Amidst the global pandemic, Robin Reecht founded Kune. This unique food tech startup has performed exceptionally well since its inception in December 2020. Food availability in Nairobi has never been an issue. However, the biggest issue has been that high-quality food is expensive while cheap food is low.

For instance, street food in Kenya costs less than a dollar, but the quality is substandard, given the conditions under which it’s prepared. On the other hand, high-quality fast food deliveries from companies like Uber Eats charge over $10. This means there is no balance for middle-income earners in the country.

This is where Kune comes in. Their business model strikes a balance between price and quality. They provide quality food at fair prices. Kune food tech startup is a hybrid model that combines cloud kitchen model and dark kitchen concepts. The result is a more adaptable system. Kune cooks, packages, and delivers food from their factory directly to customers. This approach allows them to control production, logistics, and marketing.

In the first month of business, Kune had tripled its customer base by selling food at $4 on average. The food comprised of three daily cuisines with two continental dishes and one foreign meal. With the growing demand, Kune needed to scale—and this called for more funding.

Kune Pre-seed Funding 

kune food tech startup team

Image credits: Kune

Kune’s CEO said that their product had a massive reception right from day one. Thus, they had to raise $50,000 to meet the demand. Even with this investment, the team was overwhelmed with orders to the point where they decided to take a gap. During the break, Kune had to restructure and build capacity to increase production and staff. The goal was to be able to produce 5000 meals a day. For this to happen, they needed to raise pre-seed funding to fuel operating costs.

Kune’s pre-seed funding, which is typically the earliest funding startups get, was headed by Launch Africa Ventures. This venture capital is known for backing companies that are providing solutions to huge challenges in Africa. Century Oak Capital GmbH, Pariti, and Consonance also contributed to this round, according to TechCrunch. The pre-seed round managed to raise $1 million.

What Next for Kune?

Kune goes on record as one of the few African startups to have raised a seven-figure in a pre-seed round. The team seems to have a laid-out plan on how to use the money realized from the funding. Primarily, the largest customer base of Kune is the busy Nairobians who need fast and affordable food on demand. This is not a small feat, given the nature of city life.

Nevertheless, Kune plans to launch fully in August this year. In the meantime, they are planning on capacity building, including building a larger factory and team. The CEO told TechCrunch that “our strategy is to internalize all production and human resources capacities.”

This strategy will include creating a 100 inhouse electric motorcycle fleet. In that case, most of the money from the pre-seed round will go into these plans. There are also plans to create a food culture with local cuisines and culinary shows. This will strengthen the brand and expand the company’s portfolio. Ultimately, Kune aims to be the most versatile food tech company in Kenya.

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