Crank Sports

“iPad absolutely allows me to focus, to really stay in tune and manage my business.”

Mike Mathewson, President, Crank Sports

iPad by a mile.

iPad keeps this sports energy gel producer focused on the bottom line — and the finish line.

Peak performance is a constant goal at Crank Sports, a producer of energy gels and drinks for runners, cyclists, triathletes, and other endurance athletes. To keep this dynamic business running, Crank Sports staff use iPad to access sales data, management systems, and marketing resources, whether in the office or at the many athletic events the company participates in each year.

Crank Sports was founded in 2001 by Mike Mathewson, a tech industry entrepreneur and endurance runner who knew he could improve on the existing array of nutritional supplements, electrolyte replacements, and energy boosters available for athletes. The company now sells its products through 550 specialty cycling, running, and triathlon retailers across the United States, and to more than 60,000 customers directly through the Crank Sports website.

Form Meets Functionality

“Focus is the key to success in both business and sports,” Mathewson says. “And iPad absolutely allows me to focus, to really stay in tune and manage my business.”

With its compact size, light weight, and large display, iPad gives Mathewson complete mobile control of his entire operation. “What you can do with that larger screen is incredible,” he says. “It’s just so easy to use. It’s running my business. It’s management reports. It’s customer accounts. iPad allows me to actually get business done.”

iPad is perfect in situations where a laptop could be cumbersome, Mathewson says: “I can be on a plane, in the most cramped space possible, and still manage my business.” And thanks to instant-on access, he can reach his data immediately on iPad. “If the information I need takes two seconds to look at, it doesn’t make sense to spend a minute and a half booting up a device,” he observes. “With iPad I can get it right away.”

iPad in Motion

Crank Sports is based in San Juan Capistrano, California, 50 miles south of Los Angeles, but Mathewson and his crew spend much of their time on the road, at marathons, triathlons, and sports expos around the country. Using sales and marketing tools they’ve developed for iPad, the Crank team can deliver presentations, capture customer leads, and make sales wherever they go.

“We’re using iPad as a point-of-sale unit at our expos,” Mathewson explains. “With 3G on iPad, we can tap into our back-end merchant systems. We can verify and process credit card information on the spot and email the customer a receipt.”

But that’s not the only benefit, he says. “We’re not just capturing the credit card information. We’re gathering names and email addresses so we can start a dialog with our customers. Not just to sell more product, but to continue the education they’ve received from the event.”

When potential customers visit Crank Sports at expos and other events, Crank staffers hand them iPads with a customer information form the company has created. Attendees who fill out the form can receive special deals, web-based training tools, and product updates. Using iPad adds a “wow” factor and engages customers. It also reduces error and saves time back at the office.

“With paper forms, you’d lose about 20% of the leads through data error or illegibility,” Mathewson says. “Then we developed the iPad version. People fill out the forms themselves, and they love it.”

Easy App Development

In addition to their customer lead sheet, Mathewson and his staff have developed their own web-based iPad applications for sales management and other business functions. “I can access anything about my business instantly,” he says. “I can look at financials, sales reports, anything that’s going on.”

Using these web-based apps on iPad gives Crank Sports an immediate, clear view of every aspect of the business, from distribution networks to website traffic. It’s an invaluable advantage for a business that’s constantly in motion. “Developing your own web-based app doesn’t take a lot of resources, and it doesn’t have to be expensive,” Mathewson notes.

For a business owner who’s always on the run — literally — iPad is the ideal mobile device. It delivers the power, performance, and form factor Mathewson needs to keep Crank Sports focused on the finish line — and the bottom line.

“Everything I do is on iPad now,” he says. “iPad really is my mobile office. Our business is very competitive, and we need to be responsive. This device gives us true mobile computing. It lets me access data. It lets me do business. With iPad, it’s just boom, tap, and you’re done.”

Company Snapshot

  • Founded in 2001
  • Based in San Juan Capistrano, CA
  • Energy gels and drinks for endurance athletes
  • Distributed to 550 stores and 62,000 online customers
  • www.cranksports.com

“Developing your own web-based app doesn’t take a lot of resources, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.”

Mike Mathewson, President, Crank Sports


“With 3G on iPad, we can tap into our back-end merchant systems. We can verify and process credit card information on the spot.”

Mike Mathewson, President, Crank Sports

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