Catalyst: accelerating business with Indian startups

Societe Generale has held four editions of the Catalyst programme, with
20 startups in 2018’s edition developing solutions to address 20 business challenges identified across the Bank. The Catalyst Summer 2018 programme, witnessed the largest participation since its initiation in 2015, spanning 16 countries.

Catalyst powered by Societe Generale

Fintech companies, technology startups and academic institutions were invited in July 2018 to participate to the 10-week open innovation challenge. The program aims to assimilate interesting business challenges from across the globe in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, BOTS, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Compliance and Automation.

The Catalyst platform brings together innovation experts, technology startups, Fintechs, incubators, funds and academic institutions with Societe Generale business leaders to deliver practical solutions and insightful research in areas of strategic interest to the banking industry.

The Catalyst platform seeks to realise innovation ambitions and design disruptive solutions for the benefit of Societe Generale’s clients.

Rathnaprabha Manickavachagam, Director, Innovation & Digital Transformation, Societe Generale Global Solutions Centre, says, “We co-create a minimum viable product (MVP) that aims to solve business challenges. We adopt a highly participative and co-creative approach extending multiple dimensions of interventions within the ecosystem. We provide systematic design engagement with our in-house technology experts in alignment with the business, and also ensure the MVPs are easily connectable to our IT system. These MVPs are then converted into contracts with Societe Generale”.

Some Success Stories ( created a SmartKYC application that has automated the role of a Know Your Client analyst to prepare a KYC memo in the client onboarding process, that includes collating relevant information from several hundred websites using Artificial Intelligence.

Tookitaki has developed a Machine Learning-based smart reconciliation platform for Accounting breaks reconciliation between core back office and inventory IT systems.

Participants' comments

Vijay Nadadur, Co-Founder & CEO, (
“The Catalyst programme was a defining moment in our journey. At the end of the programme, we had the ultimate joy of signing Societe Generale up as our customer. This has led our business to grow leaps and bounds, and today we have more than 10 large financial services organizations as our customers. Without Catalyst, this wouldn't have been possible."

Rajesh G, CEO, Highway Delite
“It was a great experience to be part of Catalyst 2018. The overall programme was very structured and well planned. We received great support in each step of product development for ConnectAble, from Ideation, Design, Initial Prototype and User testing from both catalyst team and business team. I would rate the experience as the Best when it comes to Corporate Accelerator Programs in the Indian Startup ecosystem.”

Ankit Bhardwaj, CEO, Senseprise
“Catalyst has been a really engaging programme. Working with the business in real time has been an amazing learning experience. We think that Catalyst transforms a startup into a process-oriented startup & sharpens the focus and real goal vision. In the 10-week engagement we have learnt a lot in every domain possible. It’s been an enriching experience providing an in depth understanding of real-life problems. It’s an amazing opportunity for any startup. An Accelerator in the true sense.”

Catalyst 2018 edition

Catalyst at a glance

  • The past three editions have resulted in 26 use case solutions assimilated from 28 start ups

  • Over 35% of the MVP recommendations from past [forums/events/programs/platforms] have already been adopted

  • Societe Generale has signed commercial contracts with selected startups to further develop their solutions to the required scale for global implementation within the Societe Generale Group.