Thundafund: The crowdfunding platform made for Africa

Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk, co-founders of Honest Chocolate, used Thundafund to turn their idea into a reality.

(CNN)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.
    Thundafund founder Patrick Schofield
    "I've seen so many failed dreams," Schofield explains. "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."
    This in essence is the modus operandi for all crowdfunding sites, and Schofield is forthcoming in his praise for the "fantastic" Kickstarter and Indigogo.
    Thundafund is different however, explains Jaco Kruger, Managing Director of YBike, who launched a campaign attracting 50,000ZAR ($4,100) of investment in 2013.
    "Kickstarter doesn't really work in South Africa... it's a difficult market to break in to... It could be said [Kickstarter] is more about making money than empowering people; there's no responsibility towards funding more entrepreneurs. Patrick is providing opportunities and helping communities."

    A new way of doing business

    Good ideas are "a dime a dozen" Schofield says, but many South Africans lack the "the skills and resources" to bring their idea 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. Whilst the likes of Kickstarter "stand aside" once a campaign is launched according to Kruger, Thundafund has guided its entrepreneurs through the process, optimizing their chance of attracting investors.