Just what fintech startups need: a ‘Catalyst’ for success in the new normal

Offering global exposure and mentorship, Catalyst, a 12-week innovation programme from Societe Generale’s global solution centre in India (SG GSC), is calling all enterprise-relevant fintech startups to co-create solutions along with business leaders for the future-ready and customer-focused bank.

This year didn’t just mark the beginning of a new decade but also the beginning of a new dynamic, with a tectonic shift in the financial landscape as well.

There are huge forces at work in the global economy today – global economic power, urbanisation, demographic shifts, and more importantly, the new normal as ushered in by the pandemic. Each of these forces will shape our lives in many ways. But for the financial services industry, technology stands above the rest. Incumbent banks are transforming into inventive banks and FinTech startups are playing a key role in this transformation.

The new normal is also a watershed moment for banking and FinTech. FinTech is at a tipping point as startups are moving out of niche use cases and are beginning to operate at scale. Where the FinTech sector once catered to specific demographics, it is now providing services across the financial services value chain to all demographics on a much larger playing field. And after proving their product-market fit in their home geographies, the most successful FinTech companies are testing products in new geographies with unfamiliar regulations.

Advancing innovation for modern banking

As one of the leading European financial services groups, Societe Generale is committed to push the innovation needle on modern banking and contribute to the positive transformation of the world. Active in the real economy for over 156 years, with a solid position in Europe and connected to the rest of the world, the Group operates in 62 countries, supporting businesses and institutional investors around the world.

To rapidly identify innovative players and trends around the world so as to be in line with contemporary banking needs, Societe Generale has been strengthening its ties with the startup and fintech ecosystem. For several years, Societe Generale Global Solution Centre has been opening up to the external startup ecosystem by strengthening its relationships with these innovative players in the form of commercial partnerships, equity investments or acquisitions.

Catalyst, the 12-week open innovation program

A key part of their collaboration agenda is Catalyst, a flagship 12-week open innovation program from the Societe Generale Group. It brings together enterprise-relevant fintech startups and innovation experts from the ecosystem on one platform to co-create solutions with SG GSC business leaders for the future-ready and customer-focused bank.

The 12-week acceleration programme is a platform for technology startups, incubators, accelerators and academic institutions to deliver solutions for current banking challenges. Having successfully completed six editions, the seventh edition of the challenge has identified 396 challenges from across Societe Generale’s units in India, Europe and Africa.

Rathnaprabha Manickavachagam, Managing Director, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Societe Generale Global Solution Centre, says, “We co-create a minimum viable product (MVP) along with chosen startups that aims to solve our relevant business challenges. We adopt a highly participative and co-creative approach by extending multiple dimensions of interventions with our startup partners. We provide systematic design engagement with our in-house design experts in alignment with the technology and business stakeholders, and also ensure the MVP is developed as per our IT architecture standards. The chosen MVPs are then converted into contracts with Societe Generale after the acceleration period.”

Benefits of the programme

During the course of the programme, startups get an opportunity to enhance their existing product offerings in terms of new dimensions, scale and geographies. If you are a startup with a solution that could transform the global banking sector, applying for the programme could offer you a host of incredible benefits including:

• Global exposure and mentorship

• End-to-end virtual acceleration

• An opportunity to work with global entities of Societe Generale

• Access to data and opportunity to work in real-time scenarios

• Business and technical mentorship

• Paid proof of concept development

• A complete virtual sandbox to securely access relevant data and infrastructure

• A practical, design-driven approach and support from UI and UX

Moreover, startups will have the opportunity to own the IPs they develop during the Catalyst program.

“We thank the Societe Generale Innovation team for supporting us during the 10-week acceleration programme last year. It feels great when a large organisation stands by you and appreciates the hard work, especially from a startup. NeoEYED has worked closely with Societe Generale and supported the deployment of biometrics in Digital Jedi.”

Sourabh Sharma, Co-founder of NeoEYED (Startup which participated in Catalyst Winter Edition in 2019 and Catalyst AFMO edition)

“The Catalyst accelerator programme was a learning experience for us, as it was one of the best managed and most valued corporate open innovation programmes that we were part of. A big thank you to the Societe Generale Innovation team, especially the leadership team, for having faith in us and believing that we could deliver products from India for any of Societe Generale’s business units across the globe, as well as for providing much-needed guidance to sail through in a complex corporate structure.”

Arun Satyan, Founder of Hyreo (Startup which participated in Catalyst Winter Edition in 2019)

Apply for the programme today

Click here to know more about the programme and submit your application. Hurry! The application window closes on 09 August, 2020.


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