Start-ups flocking to Clearco’s innovative new funding model

Based in Victoria, McIntyre sells stylish clothing and accessories made with pure Australian Merino wool. The company was born after founders Ned Scholfield and Raquel Boedo spent a year living and working on Ned’s family’s sheep farm. While farming life wasn’t for them, they discovered a love of Merino wool and its amazing properties of warmth, fineness and softness.

Ned and Raquel wanted to do something innovative with the fibre and so McIntyre was born. The company set out to bridge the gap between high-end designer merino pieces and fast fashion created quality pieces that were stylish but didn’t cost a fortune.

“Wool doesn’t need to be boring and for your Nana. It’s something you can wear to feel sexy, comfortable and who you want to be.  Australia is the world’s largest producer of Merino wool, which is a natural and sustainable fibre,” says Raquel Boedo, Co-Founder & Creative Director, McIntyre.

McIntyre products began being sold both in bricks-and-mortar retail outlets as well as online, but COVID drove sales more online. As a start-up, the company had a digital presence but hadn’t done any digital marketing until mid 2020. As McIntyre transitioned to more online sales, they faced increased expenses as they had to produce the stock as well as pay marketing fees.

As a high growth start-up, getting traditional funding can be difficult. Banks are often unwilling to lend, wanting collateral which new companies don’t usually have, and venture capitalists typically require dilution of ownership. It can be even harder for founders from minority groups or based in a regional or remote area.

“We first came across Clearco and its revenue-based funding model in an article in the Business of Fashion. The more we looked into it, it seemed like it could be a really good fit for us as a fast-growing, innovative Australian startup with ambitious overseas expansion plans,” explains Ned Scholfield, Co-Founder, McIntyre.

McIntyre turned to Clearco for the marketing capital it needed. With Clearco, businesses simply connect their revenue and marketing accounts with Clearco’s API, which then shows them investment offers. These range from $10K to $20 million.

Another advantage with Clearco is its AI-powered application process: using data science to strip out traditional prejudices that disadvantage women and minority founders, as well as rural start-ups. McIntyre was quickly approved for finance and could accelerate its growth plans.

The Clearco funding also allowed them to continue to sell and market during the southern hemisphere summer which is traditionally a tricky time to sell Merino products. Because repayments are based on revenue, when sales are lower, repayments are also lower. This makes revenue-based funding particularly ideal for seasonal businesses as it offers much more flexibility.

“Clearco is really different to dealing with a bank, because it’s a much faster, much more modern approach to finance. Clearco really understands the online part of our business which banks just don’t get. The fact that Clearco understands and is tailored to inventory also stood out,” says Ned Scholfield.

McIntyre’s ultimate aim is to become a global Merino fashion brand. With funding through Clearco, McIntyre has finally able to enter the US market and engage in marketing there.

To find out why more than 500 Australian small businesses have turned to Clearco visit Clearco Australia.