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Building a React Native chatbot app to unlock new growth opportunities for a growing FinTech startup

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Cleo wanted to build an app to move away from the technical constraints of Facebook...

Cleo is an AI powered finance chatbot with over 1,000,000 global users, allowing customers to interact with their bank accounts and financial information using natural speech.

Originally created as a Facebook Messenger app, the team at Cleo wanted to explore moving the app away from the technical constraints of Facebook by creating a stand-alone mobile application. An app also presented organic growth opportunities, with exposure to new users through the App Store and Play Store.


Whilst they had strong React skills, they lacked app-specific development experience.

Whilst the team at Cleo had an abundance of React knowledge, they lacked specific React Native expertise and mobile DevOps knowledge, so turned to Theodo to both upskill the team and create the MVP version of the app.

Working in the Theodo agile structure, and leaning on techniques like Pair Programming and technical refinements, we were able to deliver the app and upskill the team of four developers on areas like Fastlane, notifications and CodePush.


The switch from full speed feature delivery to managing live deployments was seamless, and a testament to our close collaboration. Theodo stepped back and allowed us to take the reins which was expertly managed. The team utterly smashed it.


Paul Reeve
"Product Owner"

The MVP app was delivered and launched on iOS and Android in just seven weeks

Working onsite alongside the Cleo developers in Old Street, we delivered the MVP and went live with the app in 7 weeks of development.

Once the app was on the app stores, the focus shifted to ensuring the Cleo team had the autonomy to continue development without Theodo. A live app represents new challenges, and we invested time getting their developers comfortable with building and deploying to a production app, and using codepush to quickly push critical fixes to the codebase.


The app allowed new features to be built that were not possible in Facebook Messenger, and proved an excellent source of user growth for Cleo

The app has a few standout features, including a waitlist to control entry to the app, a Monzo style ‘magic link’ system for new user authentication and working with Facebook auth tokens for existing Facebook messenger users.

Within one week of soft release the app had over 4,000 users on the waitlist, and after 3 months Cleo had onboarded thousands of new users directly through the app.


Technologies used on the project :

React Native









From solo, non-technical founder with an idea, to experienced Product Manager with a revenue-generating MVP in 6 weeks.

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