Barney Hussey-Yeo, Cleo founder & CEO

Member Article

Cleo raises $80m to help Gen Z weather cost of living crisis

Cleo has announced its $80 million Series C funding round as it seeks to double-down on the US market and help Gen Z audiences improve their financial health and wellbeing.

Founded in 2016, Cleo is a digital assistant that supports people throughout their financial lives, from their first paycheque to their first home. The company seeks to positively impact the lives of millions of young people with limited financial literacy who face increased pressure on their finances as the cost-of-living crisis escalates.

By reaching these people at the start of their journey with clear and simple guidance – delivered in a fresh, engaging tone of voice that pulls no punches – Cleo can completely change the trajectory of their financial life. 84% of people feel better about their money after just one month of using Cleo’s app, while average engagement levels with Cleo are more than 250% higher than competitors.

The company has helped millions of users on their financial journey with over half converting to one of Cleo’s paying subscription tiers within the first 12 months of downloading the app  – unprecedented for a personal finance app aimed at young people.

The Series C fundraise was led by Belgium-based investment company Sofina, supported by participation from existing investors, including EQT Ventures & Balderton Capital.

It caps a remarkable success story for the British startup, which has deliberately embarked on a US-first growth strategy to displace traditional US financial services providers that make excessive profits by charging customers unfair and unnecessary fees.

Speaking about the raise, Barnaby Hussey-Yeo, Founder and CEO of Cleo, said: “The vast majority of Gen Zers in the US are living from paycheque to paycheque. It’s harder than ever for them 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.”

“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. Our latest raise enables us to double-down on our US presence and focus on delivering deeper engagement so that we can better support our customers through the difficult days ahead.”

Cleo will use the new funding to expand its headcount from 140 to over 220 and continue iterating and improving on its product suite.

Hussey-Yeo added: “Later-stage fundraising has become a lot more challenging since the start of the downturn, and we’re gratified by the enthusiasm shown to us by both new and existing investors. Our investors recognise the vital work we’re doing in giving young people a stronger financial foothold. 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. It’s a huge market opportunity and one that, thanks to this raise, we’re well-placed to capitalise upon.”

Harold Boël, CEO at Sofina said: “Investing in Cleo illustrates our strategy of building a diversified portfolio of businesses leveraging technology to improve people’s lives. Cleo’s mission of bringing fintech-enabled personal financial empowerment to many people worldwide resonates with our own. We were impressed by the drive and the talent of the team and look forward to our partnership.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lucy Yates .

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