SOUTH AFRICA – Kombo King, a South African kitchen equipment supplier focusing on the fried food niche market, has received an undisclosed amount of investment from the Vumela Fund, established by FNB Business and Edge Growth.
The company’s fryers enable retail stores to save on electricity usage, oil usage, kitchen space and the opportunity to increase customer service speed and increased menu offerings.
Kombo King was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Zitulele KK Combi and Ari Jacobson in response to the growing demand for convenience foods at an affordable price point, without compromising on quality.
“Fried food is a staple in South Africa with healthy options far and few between. Our technology requires no extraction, has the added element of speed and uses reduced oil so the end product is both healthy and convenient without compromising on taste,” says Combi and Jacobson.
According to Bizcommunity, the recent investment is aimed to enable Kombo King launch their patented deep-fryer technology to more South African retailers.
Already introduced at Pick n Pay, King Pie and Engen’s new convenience concept store, the hygienic, ventless fryer product is now set for wider market roll-out.
“Vumela and Edge Growth understood us; the hard road Kombo King had taken to get to this position to be able to demonstrate globally unique technology.
“The stream of blue-chip customers meant the business was at a point where financial backing was required and they stepped in,” said Co-founder and Chairman KK Combi.
“Fried food is a staple in South Africa with healthy options far and few between. Our technology requires no extraction, has the added element of speed and uses reduced oil so the end product is both healthy and convenient without compromising on taste.”Kombo King Co-founders – Zitulele KK Combi and Ari Jacobson
Kombo King’s products ranks 9th in its classification field for applied patents across Europe and the US.
The solution stands out as a strong innovation-driving presence in South Africa, with the vast majority of patent applications originating from US and European manufacturers.
With hygiene protocols top-of-mind more than ever, corporates and consumers have a greater hygiene guarantee expectation.
The closed, automated system also adds a safety measure for employees operating the product, decreasing exposure to hot oil as well as the need for extensive training.
The health and safety benefits of the Kombo King products, as well as the fact that they’re designed and manufactured locally, were key factors that drove the Vumela Fund investment.
Vuyiswa Nzimande, principal at Edge Growth and lead dealmaker explains, “Consumer-centric product offerings are key to attracting customers in a highly competitive convenience food market.
“We view Kombo King fryers as an enabler to its clients to differentiate themselves in terms of quality, consistency and speed of service while increasing the client’s value proposition.”
Vumela has R454m (US$31.8m) under management, from FirstRand and the Jobs Fund, and to date has deployed R348m (US$24.4m) to more than 20 early-stage businesses, creating almost 2000 permanent jobs, primarily for low to middle income individuals.
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