Barney Hussey-Yeo is the founder and CEO of Cleo. Founded in 2016, Cleo’s budgeting chatbot has been used by millions of young people to manage their finances.
This is an extract from Barney Hussey-Yeo’s interview (https://www.uktech.news/news/founder-interviews/cleo-founder-barney-hussey-yeo-20230915).
Which role was the most important early hire you made?
A chief of staff is one of the first roles I’d recommend all founders hire. As part of the “CEO office,” an exceptional chief of staff can really become a force multiplier and help manage priorities across the businesses.
As we reached product market fit at Cleo, it was beneficial to have someone step into gaps when we began scaling so quickly and working with me to improve internal systems and processes.
What funding advice would you give to a first-time founder?
The best piece of advice I got when starting Cleo was to stack my cap table and board with ex-founders. The reason is very few people in the world understand what it’s like to go from a blank piece of paper to $100m+ ARR.
To learn from and get feedback and support from founders who have been in your shoes at one point is invaluable.
Who’s a leader you admire in your industry?
Matt Clifford and Ian Hogarth are two exceptional leaders who have stepped up to help the UK grapple with the incoming AI changes.
Ian has taken up the post as chair of the UK government’s AI Foundation Model Taskforce to lead the taskforce in cutting-edge safety research, while Matt has taken a sabbatical to be the prime minister’s representative for the upcoming AI Safety Summit.
Excluding your sector, which nascent technology holds the most promise?
The exponential progress that’s been made in NLP [natural language processing] and machine learning is going to have a macro-sized impact on every person – we are experiencing the biggest wave in computing technology on par with the Industrial Revolution. For example, the proliferation of sensors to measure our health and wellness will fundamentally change how we live. Over the next decade, you’ll be able to track and interpret your behaviour and its effect on your body to an incredible degree. An AI assistant will guide you to reaching optimal levels of mental and physical health.