Kune, a Kenyan startup, has landed itself in some hot water.
“After three days of coming into Kenya, I asked where I can get great food at a cheap price, and everybody tell me (sic) it’s impossible,” Robin Reecht told TechCrunch.“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.”
This, he said, prompted him to found Kune, a ready-to-eat meals service similar to Dinnerly. Though the company was only founded six months ago, it managed to land $1 million in pre-seed funding.
This interesting confluence of events led to Kenyans taking to Twitter to air their issues out with the whole ordeal. For one, Kenyans believe the founder is attempting to solve an issue that simply does not exist. It also didn’t help that Reecht got funding in such a short period of time when it’s been proven again and again that Black founders, in particular, have difficulty getting formidable funding in the same circumstances.
I'm still flabbergasted at the audacity of someone raising $1mn to "invent" food delivery in Nairobi.
This city where you can order anything and have it in your house in 2 hours time. Where my kibanda delivers chapos in an hour.
All with no address system.
— Elsa Majimbo stan account (@RookieKE) June 20, 2021
That kune start up just shows funding has a clique..the clique is white ,the clique is male..plus his business model was for the colonizers living in kenya,to experience Kenya in a non kenyan kenyan way…coz how does an angel investor just fund that,all white,all male
— Vulgania (@_nimonims) June 18, 2021
This story here reminds me of an article written by medium which pointed out :
1) white tech start up are 50,000% more likely to get funded in kenya than the USA.
2)65% of founders were from the USA.
3) 65% of this expatriates tech founders had lived here for 0 yrs before… https://t.co/UeUj5AmDid pic.twitter.com/Em1JRyDbHU
— Wanjiru Natasha (@WanjiruNatasha_) June 18, 2021
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Reecht subsequently provided a statement to Quartz apologizing for his messy comments.
“I completely understand where the backlash is coming from,” he said. “When I look at African startups that get huge amounts of funding, I see more white founders than Black founders. I don’t want my comments to jeopardize the work of the rest of the team. Our Kenyan team worked very hard for us to secure this funding and one of our largest investors is Nigerian. We will use funding to build an entire factory, hire 30 people in production, 100 delivery drivers, 10-15 marketers, 10-15 user experience people, among others.”
No doubt that Kenyans will hold him to his promise that he will, indeed, be hiring locally.