Goes Live: The Online Crowdfunding Café for Creatives & Innovators in Africa


Crowdfunding is a new way of raising capital to realise exceptional ideas. 

Based on the phenomenally successful crowdfunding model that has experienced extraordinary uptake in the Americas and Europe, Thundafund – The Online Crowdfunding Café for Creatives & Innovators – launched in Cape Town on 10 June 2013.

“Crowdfunding is going to fundamentally change the way we start many new enterprises in South Africa. Crowdfunding allows the many to vote with their wallets to decide what is made in our world. Thundafund will be driving this movement in creative and innovative development in South Africa and Africa,” says Patrick Schofield, Thundafund Founder.

In the first week:

  • 6 projects live
  • R60 000 raised
  • Total target value of launch projects: R315 000

Thundafund wants to see innovation and creative driven development in South Africa. It is well known that traditionally start-up funding for new ideas is extremely hard to come by, and often is accompanied with unnecessary baggage. Including: Put your house / assets / family jewels on the table and ‘they’ will consider a loan or investment, with interest, of course. And frequently, if you do not have the collateral, then it is an outright, ‘No’.

Through crowd activation, Thundafund is changing this. Thundafund allows people with great ideas to access capital, test whether they have a saleable idea and establish an initial market for their products and / or services. Importantly, Thundafund does not just provide a route to access capital, but through networked partners provides levels of business support and mentorship. The ‘Thundavettors’ and ‘Thundachampions’ – who are category-specific industry professionals’ – both review and guide project creators, creating an enabling environment for budding entrepreneurs. Thundafunds’ focus is initially on projects with a creative or innovative base, while also encouraging a strong positive social or environmental impact.

How does it work?

At its core, a crowdfunding platform like Thundafund allows a large number of people to each back a new idea or project by pledging with a small amount of cash. Project creators present their idea on the Thundafund platform and in return for various levels of financial backing; they offer ‘in-kind’ rewards – produced through the project itself. Many grains make a sand castle – and soon these small amounts add up to the capital required.

Enter, the crowd effect.

In essence, the project creators, with their idea or project, sell it before producing it. For example, local musician, Verity Price – had over 300 people backing her by pre-buying her album, Journey, which allowed her then go ahead and make the physical recording of it. Their rewards included invitations to her launch and signed copies of the album itself.

As a massive success story, globally, the ‘Pebble Watch’, launched on the US based website, was a prototype watch that the project creators put out there and asked people, “If you like it, back us.” Over 68 000 people liked the idea and pledged their cash for the promised rewards offered. The ‘Pebble Watch’ founders needed $100,000 – and within 30 days, Pebble has raised $10.27million.

No debt owed, no equity given away. The crowd told them they thought it was a cool idea.

Lately, crowdfunding has gained significant spotlight via well-known actors crowdfunding their own movies. Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and actress Kirsten Bell were 285% funded for The Veronica Mars Movie; Zach Braff 155% for Wish I was Here – both on Kickstarter. And currently, James Franco for Palo Alto Stories on IndieGoGo.

With some substantial outcry as to why they’ve turned to the crowd for funding, it’s simple: Actors often lose control of their projects and are at the beck and call of the producers and directors – with crowdfunding they have the opportunity to make the decisions and keep creative control. And for us, the people out there, the crowd, – we get to get tickets to the premier, star in the movie, really feel like ‘we’ made this happen – not a select board with all the money. It’s the democratisation of the creative process; we become part of making the world as we would like it. Alongside this substantial funding, 1st time backers of the acclaimed movie projects also moved to backed other projects on the websites. Crowdfunding is all about people been given the opportunity to become part of the creative process, whether it’s a movie project or a food garden.

“The crowd is even more important than the funding. It’s about having people who share your vision, share your dream, share their contacts, ask their friends. It’s a shared success,” says Michael Norton, renowned social entrepreneur & co-founder of UK crowdfunding platform Buzzbnk. (Buzzbnk is Thundafunds’ technological partner.)

Thundafunds’ social mission is based on the belief of ‘prosperity through enterprise’. Employment is a key challenge in South Africa – each of the funded projects generates work around them: the singer employs a producer, a recording studio, musicians, a graphic designer, a driver to distribute the CD’s and so on. The recording studio employs an electrician, sound technician, and a cleaner and outward do the ripples flow…

The following categories are open to Thundfund crowdfunding:

  1. Art & Photography
  2. Community
  3. Craft
  4. Design
  5. Events
  6. Fashion
  7. Film & Video
  8. Food & Beverages
  9. Media & Publishing
  10. Music
  11. Performance
  12. Sport
  13. Technology & Games

Thundafund is headed up by the award winning social entrepreneur, Patrick Schofield. Having consulted widely in the development world, and personally established and built up successful high social and environmental impact organisations, Patrick recognised the need and opportunity for the crowdfunding model in South Africa & Africa. Patrick began working on Thundafund in 2011. When the partnership with, a UK based crowdfunding platform, was formed in mid-2012, Thundafund began to take shape. Our team is now: Patrick Schofield; Eben Welby-Solomon; Jamie Walker and Andrea Morgan.

“In 5 years time people will see crowdfunding as a no-brainer when it comes to launching a new idea or project. Why would you spend your time and cash on an idea without first asking your future customers if they’d buy it? Crowdfunding is the ultimate in the democratization of finance. The many, coming together to back people who create products that they would like to see materialized in the world,”  says Patrick Schofield.

One thought on “ Goes Live: The Online Crowdfunding Café for Creatives & Innovators in Africa

  1. Hi Patrick
    African Rainmakers, what an awesome mission. We’re hoping to spark the fire of home and community breadbaking using wood-fired rocket oven technology. Prototypes are under development and when we’re ready would love to launch our South African initiative on your platform.
    Revolutionising, reviving and revving up the bread industry.

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