Financial assistant Cleo raises $80m to support Gen Z

By Amelia Isaacs on Thursday 30 June 2022

Digital Banking

The money app meets AI chatbot with “roast mode” and pizza cursors has helped more than four million young people manage their finances.

Financial assistant Cleo raises $80m to support Gen Z
Image source: Barney Hussey-Yeo/Cleo.

Gen-Z “digital assistant” Cleo has raised $80m Series C to double down on the US market and continue helping young people's financial health and wellbeing.

The money management app is designed to support and empower young people to form better money habits throughout their financial lives, “from their first paycheque to their first home”.

Cleo believes it can change the trajectory of millions of people’s financial lives by reaching them at the start of their journey with clear and simple guidance.

“It’s harder than ever for [Gen Zers] to get ahead – particularly as the price of everything continues to increase – and yet this audience continues to be neglected, or worse, exploited, by the traditional financial services industry,” Cleo founder and CEO Barnaby Hussey-Yeo said.

“We’re here to provide personalised financial support and guidance to these young people, giving them a helping hand as they seek to better manage their finances, build their credit profile and weather the storm caused by the cost-of-living crisis.”

The investment will go towards Cleo’s continued US growth, including expanding its headcount from 140 to more than 220.

Despite being a British startup, the company has focused on the US market since launching there in 2019.

Cleo says it has deliberately gone on a US-first growth strategy to “displace traditional US financial services providers that make excessive profits by charging customers unfair and unnecessary fees”.

It now has more than four million users and annual recurring revenue of $30m.

“The goal is to build an enduring, trusted relationship with this audience – by speaking their language and giving them financial services support tailored to their unique needs and circumstances,”  Hussey-Yeo added.

“It’s a huge market opportunity and one that, thanks to this raise, we’re well-placed to capitalise upon.”

The Series C round was led by Belgian investment company Sofina, supported by participation from existing investors including EQT Ventures and Balderton Capital.

Sign up for our newsletters

Your daily 7am download of all things alternative finance and fintech.

Fintech and alternative finance headlines with an exclusive Editor's Note each week. Delivered Monday at midday.

AltFi's new weekly US newsletter breaking down the ins and outs of America's burgeoning fintech sector. Delivered Monday 9am EST/ 6am PST.