The fintech six
As of February, half a dozen start-up and emerging technology companies selected by Societe Generale’s Global Markets Incubator Committee were ensconced in a swish Paris building, at the pleasure of the bank and Le Swave. The six are there by virtue of being the winners in a selective application process launched this past October to foster, within a specially created space, independent technology companies vying for access to six months of expert support that promises to transform them and/or their new projects from infancy to operational maturity.
“The main motivation for us was, gaining access to external capabilities, successful fintechs in Capital Markets, but also the ability to act fast. We developed an efficient framework to deliver a powerful fintech incaution and accelerator solution combining entrepreneurs in markets working alongside our experts,” said Antoine Connault, Head of Global Markets Incubator at Societe Generale.
In turn, the successful six have gained access to real market conditions and activities, while further benefitting from the bank’s market-leading in-house expertise, as well as the backing of Le Swave. “By joining us, entrepreneurs benefit from the required expertise, datasets, ecosystems and resources to increase the value of their business proposition,” said Connault.
Until the end of July 2019, the fintechs will inhabit a dedicated space in the iconic La Grande Arche in La Défense, hosted by the bank and Le Swave Paris & Co, an initiative funded by the French government dedicated to the incubation and business acceleration of financial technology, of which Societe Generale was a founding member. To maximize their interactions with the bank’s experts, they also have a dedicated office space within the bank’s premises at the very heart of its Market Activities in the Basalte Tower.
“Le Swave brings development expertise and access to a number of ecosystems – public organizations, business partners, regulators, venture capitalists, legal and accounting expertise - and we bring the business and user expertise,” said Connault. “We built teams around each of the companies with all the required expertise from product and market knowledge to compliance and IT to guarantee their relevance with the business environment.”
The six companies currently enjoying the Paris air are: ICA, which specialises in risk management solutions; Nephelai, which uses machine learning to detect booking anomalies; SC.IO, which automatizes the extraction of information from documents; Sesamm, which builds an alternative data analysis framework using natural language processing and machine learning; Teambrain, which developed a solution that manages informal knowledge; and Wematch Equity Derivatives, which is developing platforms for dealers to exchange risk in a safe and intuitive environment.
Where there is a tangible benefit and Societe Generale wants to be a user of the technology, the options at the end of the incubation include a commercial contract or even investing in these companies, enabling them to further develop their wares. “They already have at least one client, with each we are either developing a new product or allowing to reach new client segments,” said Connault.
If the bank decides it wants to be a client of any or all the companies after the six months are up, that would be a first success. That is not a given, but, even if a company is not taken on, the bank has committed to help develop business relationships that work for them. “We definitely want to foster benefits for the industry, beyond the impact in our own organization,” said Connault.