Meet Cleo: The AI Finance App that Captivated Gen Z 🧑‍💼💕

Meet Cleo: The AI Finance App that Captivated Gen Z 🧑‍💼💕

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3 min read

August 14, 2023

Meet Cleo's screen of their website

Are you tired of feeling like your bank account is more like a black hole than a treasure chest? Well, get ready to meet Cleo, the AI personal finance app that's about to rock your financial world!

Cleo isn't your typical boring budgeting tool; she's like your cool, financially savvy best friend. She understands the struggles of being a Gen Z hustler and knows how to make money talk without the fluff.

With Cleo by your side, you'll finally get a grip on your spending, save smarter, and maybe even have a little fun while you're at it.

Buckle up and join the financial revolution as we uncover how Cleo won the hearts of Gen Z and the valuable lessons we can all learn from this innovative startup

📝 Cleo’s identity

  • Problem: The inability to see exactly what was happening with our money, all in one place.
  • Solution & competitive differentiation: By using data science and machine learning in a fun, gamified manner, the company could attract and keep Generation Z and millennial users for its financial assistant chatbot.
  • Industry: Fintech, Personal Finance.
  • Headquarters: UK.
  • Year founded: 2016.
  • Investors: Balderton, Entrepreneur First, Moonfruit co-founders Wendy Tan White and Joe White, Skype founder Niklas Zennström, Wonga founder Errol Damelin, EQT Ventures, Local Globe.
  • Total Funding Amount: $137M (Source: Crunchbase)
  • Business model: Premium business model offering valuable financial insights to improve spending habits and facilitate better money management (monthly subscription fee on Plus and Builder subscription services).
  • Metrics: 100% YoY growth and $50m ARR.
  • Why it’s scaling: Because Cleo is not actually a bank, it is able to scale rapidly because it has no huge capital requirements or regulatory constraints.

👨‍💼 Barney Hussey-Yeo, The Visionary Young Grad Founder

Meet the mind behind Cleo's magic – Barney Hussey-Yeo, a machine learning prodigy who graduated in 2014 from the University of Bristol. With a passion for changing the world's financial health, Barney founded Cleo in 2016. Armed with innovative ideas and an unyielding determination, he raised a staggering $137.5M in total funding, powering Cleo's journey to greatness.

📱Born as a Chatbot: The Story of Cleo's Origins

Imagine this: a chatbot living inside Facebook Messenger, whispering financial wisdom to young minds across the globe. That's the humble beginning of Meet Cleo!

Cleo goes the extra mile to give you full control of your finances, from tracking your spending to breaking it down by transaction, category, or merchant. Moreover, you can set aside money for your dreams, send cash to friends, donate to charity, and receive spending alerts – all through Cleo's user-friendly interface.

Lesson 1: Start Small, Dream Big ✍️

The lesson here for every aspiring founder is clear: start small but never compromise on your big dreams. Meet Cleo began as a chatbot in a single platform, but its founders had their eyes on revolutionizing personal finance. They laid the foundation, built upon it, and soon, Cleo became a household name for Gen Z.

Lesson 2: Be Fearless, Embrace Change ✍️

Barney's story teaches us the importance of embracing change fearlessly. As a young grad with a dream, he navigated uncharted waters, learning from failures, and adapting Cleo's approach based on feedback.

💕 The Secret Sauce: Cleo's Love Language for Gen Z

Cleo's not just another AI – it's a friend, a confidant, and a trendsetter. What makes Cleo so appealing to Gen Z? Its voice! Bold, irreverent, and purposeful, Cleo talks like a teenager with a hint of sassy charm. No boring financial jargon here! Plus, Cleo refuses to tolerate disrespect; it stands up to users who cross the line, demanding the respect it deserves.

Lesson 3: Speak Their Language ✍️

For every marketer seeking to capture the heart of Gen Z, the lesson is clear: speak their language. Embrace authenticity, show personality, and be bold in your approach. Gen Z loves brands that stand their ground, and Cleo's success proves that being true to your voice can win the loyalty of a generation.

🌍 Taking a Stand: Cleo's Activism in Action

Meet Cleo, the activist! Gen Z demands more than just catchy slogans; they want brands that stand up for what matters. Cleo does exactly that – from supporting Britney Spears in her conservatorship battle to launching "Random Acts of Relief," a campaign supporting financially vulnerable users.

Lesson 4: Actions Speak Louder Than Words ✍️

For founders and students alike, Cleo's activism teaches a valuable lesson: actions speak louder than words. Show your support for causes that resonate with your audience, and back it up with tangible action. Whether it's through impactful campaigns or meaningful initiatives, your brand can make a difference.

💼 Cleo's Budgeting Magic: Rules and Empathy at Play

Want to know Cleo's secret to become the world's cheekiest budgeting app? It's all in the rules and empathy. Cleo maintains its bold personality with tough love but never at the expense of users. It's like having a caring big sister who sets you straight when needed. Through highly relevant messaging and an empathetic user-led approach, Cleo guides its users toward healthier financial habits.

Lesson 5: Create Memorable Experiences ✍️

For marketers seeking to create unforgettable experiences, Cleo's approach is a treasure trove of lessons. Define your brand's personality, establish clear guidelines, and prioritize empathy in every interaction. Engage users meaningfully without overwhelming them, and watch as your brand becomes a companion on their journey.

🎉 The Journey Continues: Cleo's Ongoing Success

Cleo's journey is far from over. As one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, with a phenomenal 100% YoY growth and $50m ARR, Cleo has become a trailblazer in the fintech realm. Its authenticity, activism, and consistency have endeared it to Gen Z and beyond, making it a true icon for the future of finance.

Lesson 6: Embrace Your Unique Voice ✍️

For marketers and founders, Cleo's story urges us to embrace our unique voice. Dare to be different, stand by your values, and let your brand's personality shine through. As the world evolves, Cleo reminds us that being true to ourselves can be the key to everlasting success.

📚 In Conclusion

As we wrap up our exciting journey into the world of Meet Cleo, we hope you've found inspiration in the story of this extraordinary AI finance app. Cleo's success lies in its actionable, engaging approach, delivered in an approachable and captivating storytelling style.

Cleo's journey is a testament to the impact that innovative marketing strategies and genuine connections can have on a brand's success. As you navigate your own path, let the lessons of Meet Cleo guide you toward creating groundbreaking solutions and leaving a lasting mark on the world.

Thanks again for reading!

Feel free to reach out to me at, and you can also follow my adventures on LinkedIn.

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