Launched in 2016, Cleo has just received a fresh round of funding worth $10 million. Discover what made Barney Hussey-Ye, its founder, start the company, how it works, and what it can do for its users. Also read how successful the company has been and whether Cleo is safe for you to use.

In this article you’ll read:

  • How did Cleo start?
  • What can you do with Cleo?
  • Why are people choosing Cleo?
  • How safe is Cleo?
  • How Successful Has Cleo Been?
  • Conclusion

Payday Loans Net aims to help borrowers to budget better and avoid short term credit whenever possible. Find out if Cleo can help you to manage your finances better and keep away from bad credit.

How Did Cleo Start?

Cleo is the brain-child of Barney Hussey-Yeo who graduated from university with a degree in Computer Science and Machine Learning. The inspiration for Cleo came from his experiences in his first job as a data scientist at Wonga. He commented that the payday lender would give people loans, but they were given no help in managing their money. Then, he realised how far the credit system in the UK was broken.

He developed the first version of Cleo for his own personal use as a way to keep track of his own spending and help with his budgeting. This first version sent him a text every day telling him how much he could spend. Hussey-Yeo said that this changed his outlook on money.

The commercial possibilities of came about as a developed as a result of the mentoring he received through his participation in the Entrepreneur First scheme which allowed him to secure his first funding. His first financial support came from angel investors including Niklas Zennstrom (the founder of Skype) and $2.6 million from the LocalGlobe seed fund. With the latest round of funding, the firm has received total investments of $15 million since 2016.

What Can You do With Cleo?

After being connected to its user’s bank accounts and credit cards, Cleo acts as a digital assistant which helps people manage their money in a number of ways. Using its AI ‘brain,’ Cleo enables users to:

  • track their budget in real time
  • save automatically
  • view the balance in every account
  • check their direct debits and latest financial transactions
  • identify their spending trends and receive notification of their spending in any specific category

Users communicate with Cleo through FaceBook’s Messenger service which enables them to ask questions about every aspect of their financial situation.

Why are People Choosing Cleo?

Hussey-Yeo believes that traditional financial products don’t work for millennials because they are both confusing and boring. He says that they require something that speaks their own language without being condescending. Cleo achieves a balance between entertainment and education, and its unique personality attracts more users.

Cleo’s other selling point is that it’s straightforward to use and enables its users to get an up-to-date picture of their finances so they can make better-informed decisions about their spending habits and keep their budget on track. Hussey-Yeo predicts that in the future people will no longer use bank accounts as their primary financial interface.

How Safe is Cleo?

Hussey-Yeo emphasises that FaceBook is purely used as a communication platform, but it has no access to users’ banking data. The site uses bank-level encryption and security practices to protect its users’ personal information while access to all accounts is read-only. This means that no one (even the user) can move money in and out of users’ accounts via Cleo. Finally, the firm offers its users a security pledge to cover them for any loss up to a maximum of £85,000. This is the equivalent of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for savings and deposit accounts.

How Successful Has Cleo Been?

At present, Cleo has 600,000 users in the UK, US and Canada, and 30,000 new users sign up every week. Within only 4 months of its expansion into North America in April 2018, Cleo had managed to attract 350,000 new users. It appeals mostly to the young; 94% of its users are under 35.

With the latest round of funding from the investor Balderton Capital, the company hopes to expand even more and move into other countries.

Where Cleo is Going – Conclusion

From its increasing popularity and the fact that it has been able to attract high-level funding from Europe’s leading series A investor, it seems apparent that Cleo is likely to flourish and expand. Its main benefit is that it allows its users to control their spending and stick to their budget. This is a meaningful way to avoid the use of high-cost payday UK credit products and possible future financial problems.

Tracy Walter
As a busy mother of 3, Tracy knows all about household finances. After completing her BA English Language and Literature at the University of Hertfordshire, she found an entry level job as an insurance agent and worked her way up. After the birth of her second child she left the insurance sector to work from home as a freelance writer. Tracy’s varied background in personal finance, writing and homemaking provide the perfect foundation for writing for the Payday Loan Net blog. Tracy loves nature, and weekends often find her with her kids at one of the many parks in the Barking area.

The article "Meet Cleo – Can the New Budgeting Assistant Help You?" was last modified on