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英国金融科技创企Cleo获顶尖风投机构看好

Cleo是一家来自英国的金融科技企业,公司旗下的Facebook Messenger机器人与银行帐户和信用卡连接,用户可以对AI机器人提出问题(比如“我的余额是多少”和“我在Tesco上花了多少钱?”),就像和朋友聊天一样,并及时获得自己所需的相关信息。自今年1月推出以来,Cleo的AI聊天机器人已经累计回答了100万个问题,成功吸引了5万多用户,管理资金总额也累计突破4亿英镑。

Cleo表示,超过四分之三的用户在与Cleo签约的三个月内就停止使用银行的应用程序了。

去年,Cleo获得了70万英镑的天使轮投资,投资方包括Zoopla联合创始人Alex Chesterman、Wonga联合创始人Errol Damelin以及广告代理商Albion创始人兼非执行主席Jason Goodman。而今年,亿万富翁、Skype联合创始人Niklas Zennström及英国顶尖风投机构LocalGlobe也向Cleo伸出了橄榄枝,为后者提供了200万英镑的种子轮投资,而上述投资机构也参与了本次融资。

Cleo联合创始人Barney Hussey-Yeo曾经是Wonga的数据科学家。他表示,公司将会利用本轮融资“积极”进行扩张,包括进入美国和澳大利亚的市场,优化产品和壮大团队。

目前,企业正在增加新功能,如能源切换、贷款和信用卡比较,助理服务将在未来6个月内在WhatsApp上推出。

Hussey-Ye表示,它还测试了Amazon Echo和Google Home智能家居音箱的助理服务,但是在使用该设备进行银行业务方面,安全性还没有达到可以放心使用的水平。

这家刚刚成立一年的创业公司计划在年底前将员工从8人增加到12人,并且计划在营销活动中花费50万到100万英镑。

这家创业公司成立在Entrepreneur First,这是一个技术孵化器,它也支持了由Twitter收购的AI公司Magic Pony。 EF也持有该公司的股份。

 

The billionaire co-founder of Skype and one of the UK's top startup venture capital investors are backing a UK fintech behind a chatbot helping people with their finances that could kill off banking apps.

Niklas Zennström along with Robin and Saul Klein's LocalGlobe have invested £2m in a seed stage funding round of Cleo.

Cleo's Facebook Messenger bot connects with bank accounts and credit cards and users can ask questions such as "what's my balance?" and "how much have I spent in Tesco?" in the same way as chatting with friends.

Since launching in January, more than 50,000 people are managing £400m of their cash with Cleo and it has answered more than one million queries

And the startup said more than three quarters of users stop using their bank's app within three months of signing up with Cleo.

The fresh cash follows hot on the heels of a £700,000 angel investment late last year from Zennstrom and a host of other well-known investors, who also participated in the latest round. That includes Zoopla co-founder Alex Chesterman, Wonga co-founder Errol Damelin and Jason Goodman, founder of ad agency Albion, who will also become a non-executive chairman.

Cleo co-founder Barney Hussey-Yeo, a former data scientist at Wonga, told City A.M. the startup will use the cash to pursue "aggressive" scaling, including launching in the US and Australia, develop its product and grow the team.

On expansion to the often hard to crack US, he said "You want to play in the best league - it's where the competition is and we're ahead of them. We want to win the market."

It is adding new functionality such as energy switching and loan and credit card comparisons, while the assistant will launch on WhatsApp in the next 6 months.

Between them Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have more than 2bn monthly users each month.

Hussey-Ye said it has also tested out the assistant on Amazon Echo and Google Home smart home speakers, However, security is not yet up to scratch when it comes to using the device for banking as anyone is able to use it.

The year-old startup will grow staff from eight to 12 by the end of the year and plans to spend between £500,000 and £1m on marketing campaigns. So far it has picked up those 50,000 users "very much" by word of mouth.

The startup was formed at Entrepreneur First, the tech accelerator which also backed Magic Pony, the AI company bought by Twitter. EF also holds a stake in the company.

“We were very impressed with the application of AI to engage a community of digital natives frustrated with the difficulties of communicating with traditional banks," said new backer Robin Klein, general partner at LocalGlobe.

"In a short time, the Cleo team has already demonstrated product execution for growth and retention of its target demographic. People using the service really understand where their money is going and can find ways to save and replace with better financial products.”


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