Cleo, a London-based financial wellbeing app, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $80M (approximately €76M in a Series C round of funding.
The round was led by Belgium-based investment company Sofina. Existing investors, including EQT Ventures and Balderton Capital, also participated.
The UK company intends to use the funds to fuel further US growth, accelerate product development, and increase its headcount from 140 to over 200 this year.
Cleo: What you need to know
Founded in 2016 by Barnaby Hussey-Yeo, Cleo is a digital assistant that aims to empower the Gen-Z to form better money habits. With a chat feature, Cleo removes the stress of decision-making with personal advice based on the user’s needs and financial history.
Barnaby Hussey-Yeo, Founder and CEO of Cleo, says, “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.”
The company’s mission is to positively impact the lives of young people with limited financial literacy, who face increased pressure on their finances as the cost-of-living crisis escalates.
He adds, “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.”
Cleo claims that 84 per cent of people feel better about their money after just one month of using their app, while average engagement levels with Cleo are more than 250 per cent higher than competitors.
Hussey-Yeo adds, “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.”
Sofina is a Belgian family-controlled investment company, listed on Euronext Brussels and controlled by the descendants of Gustave Boël. The investment company operates in Europe, Asia, and the United States, in four focus sectors: Consumer & Retail, Education, Digital Transformation, and Healthcare.
Harold Boël, CEO of Sofina, says, “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.”