Posted on May 1, 2018 by staff

TransferWise founder ‘invests in UK FinTech chatbot’


TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus has reportedly become an investor in Cleo, an AI-powered chatbot for banking.

Hinrikus confirmed to TechCrunch last month that he had become an investor in the London-based FinTech start-up, but did not disclose how much he invested.

The Estonian-born tech entrepreneur was Skype’s first employee, and has since founded international money transfer platform TransferWise.

The Cleo chatbot uses artificial intelligence to analyse a user’s bank transactions and can spot trends in spending, watch budgets and categorise spending. It then communicates the analysis using natural language through the chatbot.

Cleo was set up in 2016 at European tech accelerator ‘Entrepreneur First’. It is currently being used by more than 90,000 people.

“It’s a proactive bank, it’s a bank that talks to you, and tells you on a Monday morning, ‘hey, you know, you can spend £100 this week’,” Hinrikus said.

“I think there are a lot of millennials that are super happy with the product. What’s going to come of it, who the hell knows? It’s a long journey ahead, but it’s exciting. Starting by solving one pain-point for these people, there’s a ton of things you can do.”

On its website, Cleo says that it will monetise the app by offering “our own faster, fairer and cheaper financial products”, but according to TechCrunch, Hinrikus sees more opportunities to make money back from his investment.

“There’s a gazillion opportunities,” he told the publication.

“If you think about insurance, if you think about investing, if you think about credit, there’s so much you can do. It’s really about being smart and choosing which ones to double down on… If you want to build a really big business, then credit may be the most important.”