It’s been an incredible period for the fintech on a mission to fight for the world’s financial health — it’s an ambitious mission but one that PJ says emanates throughout the company. “It’s a really big thing for us. We’re building a super-intelligent, AI assistant constantly fighting for our users — we want to go on a journey with our users and be by their side as they grow their financial independence.”
Before joining Cleo PJ worked at an executive search firm, after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in Spanish and Arabic in 2016, an experience that exposed them to the tech industry.
This exposure solidified an interest in tech sparked by PJ’s father who had taught them the very basics of HTML and CSS early on. To facilitate a move into the tech industry PJ joined Makers Academy on their full-stack web development programme which gave them the hard and the soft skills needed to land that first job in tech.
PJ joined Cleo as their 12th employee and entered a learning environment that suited them to the ground. “That was really fun — it was a free environment where you just go and get stuff done.”
PJ notes that while this environment suited them, they appreciate that it’s not for everyone. “It’s a flat structure and that won’t work for everybody. I know a lot of people really value working for a bigger company where there is a clear breakdown of when you’ll be focussing on learning and when you’ll be working.”
For PJ, however, the environment was ideal. “I always wanted to learn by doing. I don’t want to read an abstract theory about how specific parts of databases work — I will learn that when that specific part of a database breaks at Cleo and we have to jump on a Zoom call and solve it together.”