How Nigeria’s Bature Brewery tapped into crowdfunding

A selection of Bature Brewery beers.

A selection of Bature Brewery beers.

In late 2017, Kevin Conroy and James Turley decided to turn their home brewing operation in Nigeria’s capital Abuja into a proper craft beer business. To kickstart the company, the founders of Bature Brewery each committed $10,000 as startup funding. They also raised an additional $20,000 through an online crowdfunding campaign.

Conroy credits the crowdfunding campaign’s success partly to the promotional video they created. He believes the video made the fledgling business’s offering and mission more comprehensible than text or still images could. “I think me talking to the camera or me holding beers and showing what we’re trying to do definitely helped,” he says.

The video, which cost about $2,000 and took two days to shoot, featured several artists and influencers. “We gave people a lot of beers to come and help us film this,” Conroy explains. (Watch the crowdfunding campaign video below:)

Despite the online nature of the crowdfunding campaign, Conroy emphasises the need for offline efforts to promote it. “You still need to work the phones, work the WhatsApps, send people links, follow up and say, ‘Hey did you contribute?’” he advises.

Conroy also notes that entrepreneurs in Africa running online crowdfunding campaigns need to ensure their chosen platform can accept payments from the countries where their potential backers are based. He explains that although the situation may have improved since then, the Western platform Bature used had difficulty processing payments from Nigerian bank cards. “We ended up having to take cash from people and then making payments ourselves on the platform,” he recalls.

Read our full interview with Kevin Conroy: Nigeria’s craft beer pioneer eyes $65m empire