In the egalitarian world of crowdfunding, most sites are much the same — largely passive templates for start-ups to vie for investment. While these tools may be advantageous abroad, in Africa… not so much. What works in New York might not necessarily work in Cape Town. Knowing this, one South African company has created an ethically-conscious platform for entrepreneurs from the continent — and it’s leaving its rivals by the wayside in the process.
Thundafund, launched by Patrick Schofield in 2013, has seen unprecedented success and spawned a new way of thinking among the crowdfunding community. How? By working closely with entrepreneurs to get the best out of their ideas. Schofield explains:
“I’ve seen so many failed dreams. People have put their hearts and souls into businesses, their life savings into an idea they think is awesome, only to find out marketers don’t like it. But with Thundafund you actually get to ask the market whether it’s a good idea.”
According to Schofield, many people have great idea but they lack the skills and resources to bring them through to fruition.
New businesses that do receive funding are often saddled with heavy debts or give away significant portions of their company to investors in return for guidance. And this is where Thundafund differs. As opposed to “standing by”, it guides its entrepreneurs through the process, optimizing their chance of attracting investors.
Over 1,400 projects have been submitted so far, with 160 finding their way on to the site. The reason behind the cull is largely due to projects realizing “they’re not financially viable” during the collaborative process with Thundafund, Schofield says, or coming to the conclusion that more work needs to be done to make them so. hg