Resources | Customer Success | February 18, 2019

CleverMade Taps Into C2FO Early Payment to Help Fund Explosive Growth

CleverMade is a rapidly growing consumer products company that uses C2FO to bridge cash flow gaps so it can keep up with demand.

While on a business trip in Europe, the founders of CleverMade stumbled upon a massively popular category of collapsible crates that weren’t available in the United States.

Determined to introduce the category to the US market, they partnered with an Italian company to handle manufacturing and secured agreements with big-box retailers like Walmart and Costco to carry their product.

Once the product hit the shelves, sales of the crates took off, and the company set its sights on expanding to other retailers and creating additional product categories.

CleverMade’s challenge

Mike Carlson, CleverMade’s co-founder and CEO, discovered that growing a business slowly isn’t that complicated — it’s growing rapidly that creates financial challenges.

“Small businesses always need a financial bridge, something to cover the gap between when we have to pay our suppliers and when our customers pay us,” says Carlson.

CleverMade had few financing options as a new company, so they turned to invoice factoring to help provide cash flow—an option that charged the company an excessive 20% APR.

The solution

One day by accident, Carlson came across a banner on Costco’s supplier portal that said, “Get paid 50 days early with the Costco Early Payment Program.”

“I couldn’t click on that banner fast enough. I thought, ‘Wow, this is neat and I hope it pans out,’” he says.

Carlson created an account, saw that the cost of early payment was far lower than his factor, and selected a few invoices to have paid early.

When the money showed up in CleverMade’s account two days later, Mike decided to ditch their factoring company and switch to C2FO.

“We’ve had the ability to save the company a tremendous amount of money on an annual basis just by using C2FO,” Carlson says.

The results

With C2FO in place, Mike has been able to access cash flow when needed to help grow his business at a lower cost than using banks or factors.

Beyond collapsible crates, CleverMade has expanded its product collection to include collapsible coolers, totes, and other outdoor products. And in addition to Costco and Walmart, the company’s products now appear on the shelves of other retailers including Lowe’s, Target, Menards, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Learn more about CleverMade, or see if you have any outstanding invoices from your buyers in the C2FO platform.

Success Snapshot

CleverMade's logo


The consumer products company replaced its factor with C2FO’s Early Payment.

Why C2FO?

CleverMade saves a “tremendous amount” of money by using C2FO for its working capital needs.