Founder: Barney Hussey-Yeo
Business: Cleo is a free money app that has helped 4 million people budget better, build credit, and escape their overdraft.
About Barney and Cleo
Barney is a data scientist with an MSc in Machine Learning from the University of Bristol. He previously worked as a Data Scientist for Wonga, a British payday loan firm.
Barney founded Cleo in 2016 with the goal to fight for the world’s financial health. The company’s aim is to continue to positively impact the lives of millions of young people who have limited financial literacy and face increased pressure on their finances as the cost-of-living crisis escalates.
Cleo is a free AI financial assistant that gives personalised information about users’ finances. It aggregates users’ bank accounts and credit cards into a single interface so that they can chat with Cleo. The free app helps people to create positive financial habits by providing budgeting, savings and spending insights within their mobile app.
84% of people feel better about their money after just one month of using Cleo, and Cleo’s engagement levels are 250% higher than competitors. They have even helped users save over $65 million in overdraft fees.
In 2022, Cleo announced its $80 million Series C fundraise with 3x year-on-year growth to double-down on the US market and help Gen Z improve their financial health and wellbeing.
Cleo provides a unique example of a British company succeeding with a US-first growth strategy to displace traditional US financial services providers that make profits by charging customers fees.
(Press releases, interviews and startup of the week)