48. Cleo

Company: Cleo

Founder: Barney Hussey-Yeo

Website: https://web.meetcleo.com/




About Cleo


When did you start?

Founded in 2016, Cleo is the world’s first AI assistant that turns the complexity of personal finance into a simple conversation, just like one you’d have with a friend. To date, Cleo has helped more than seven million people create healthy money habits and engage more with their financial future. The majority of Cleo users (70%) say that the AI assistant has improved their financial life – helping them stay on top of bills, save money and control their overall spending.

What challenges have you overcome?

Seven years ago, whilst working as a data scientist in financial services, Cleo’s founder and CEO Barney Hussey-Yeo recognised the widespread financial instability among Gen Z. Armed with an MSc in Machine Learning, Barney believed that the future of human-computer interaction would be delivered through a conversational user interface and that in the future there would be an AI assistant for every domain of our lives, such as health, wellness, travel, etc., and that Cleo would be the AI assistant for personal finance.

Barney’s primary challenge was overcoming consumer scepticism surrounding AI’s role in improving personal finances. It required building a trustworthy AI-powered product that consumers would see as their co-pilot for money management. Over the past seven years, Cleo is seeing more engagement from young, financially diverse consumers because the technology it’s built lends itself to a human-like experience, while also offering competitive products. For example, it is the only app that ‘roasts’ users for their spending. It’s a bit tough love, but helps people confront their spending habits in an approachable and lighthearted way.

Cleo’s personalised chat interface provides users with a friendly and accessible AI assistant that offers saving hacks, interactive modes, budgeting features, and more. This personalised approach democratises access to financial coaching and makes what is typically reserved for the top 1% of the population available to everyone.

What impact on the FinTech industry has the company had?

Cleo’s fantastic growth trajectory highlights its role as a trusted AI personal finance companion and has helped show how intuitive features like AI-powered budgeting assistance and savings coaching can move the market. In the last year, Cleo doubled its subscriber base, hit a half-billion-dollar valuation and is on track for $200M ARR by the end of 2024.

Beyond financial metrics, Cleo’s commitment to financial literacy is evident. Last year, Cleo analysed billions of financial transactions and helped users avoid declined transactions or overdrafts nearly two million times – demonstrating its dedication to user empowerment and financial transparency.

Its clever marketing has seen the company hire staff via TikTok applications, employ comedy writers to engage young people using its services – including writing witty and sarcastic Gen Z-tailored copy – and even take over a coffee shop for a money management roadshow.

As Cleo continues to grow exponentially, its mission to alleviate financial stress remains a priority, empowering users to navigate their financial futures with confidence.



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