Societe Generale, the first international financial group to become a member of the Fintech District, has opened up applications for its incubator dedicated to fintechs specialized in Global Markets activities. Albert Loo, Global Deputy Head of Sales, tells us about last year’s experience and his goals for the new batch of startups that the bank is selecting. There may also be Italian fintechs from the Fintech District community.
What is the current relationship of Societe Generale with the fintech sector?
The fintech ecosystem is very important to Societe Generale. In order to explain this, I need to point out that the innovation department reports directly to the CEO of the group. We have 3 types of relationships with the fintech ecosystem. Societe Generale is a client of fintech; Societe Generale invests in fintech; Societe Generale is also an incubator for fintech, especially in Global Markets activities.
When Societe Generale is a client, what we do is scout around for the best fintech that fits our DNA, searching in the many Labs we have around the world and doing so because we are convinced that open innovation is key, allowing us to leverage the excellence of fintech, its agility and its technology. This is how, in our opinion, we can transform ourselves.
What goes on behind the creation of the SG Global Markets incubator? What are its main achievements so far?
We created our Global Markets Incubator 1 year ago, working with the first group of startups and now we’re going to select the second batch. We chose to make the incubator very vertical for specialized fintechs so we could understand each other immediately. We believe in this way we can make a difference in Europe having a strong set up to offer to fintech who want to specialize in the capital markets.
Last year we launched the application in October and received 78 applications: 40% from France and 60% from other countries. We ended up incubating 6 startups. After 6 months we decided to scale up with 4 of the 6 startups, and such result exceeded our expectations. We are not talking about small changes, but rather the integration of companies that will transform the systems of Societe Generale. This is a challenging task because it is not easy to change the way you have always operated for more than 30 years, but fintech brings us a lot: it had to be done and we have done it.
What are the main objectives and projects for the future of the incubator? How can Societe Generale’s collaboration with the Fintech District facilitate the reaching of those targets?
The goal for the second batch of startups is to be as successful as the first one, maybe even better. It may even be more international and possibly there will also be some Italian fintechs. That’s the reason we chose to become members of the Fintech District. We believe Fintech District is THE platform in Italy that gathers all the fintech companies and we want to strengthen this role in Italy through this partnership. What may happen is that Italian startups come to our incubator, for example, but also that some of our incubated fintech companies enter the Fintech District to expand in Italy.