Calls for tenders in the construction and real estate sectors involve many different players. In order to draw up their shared reports, these companies need to exchange loads of data and documents. The problem: even today, these exchanges are still limited to sending e-mails or even paper files and also sharing working documents (such as Excel spreadsheets), which are not always suited to editing by multiple parties. Time-consuming and often a source of confusion, this process was tried out by Thomas Cassou, co-founder of AOS and former project leader, before he launched his own solution.
Frustrated by the time and energy spent classifying and sharing vast amounts of data, he teamed up with his former classmate and tech enthusiast, Alexandre Brochot, to invent a new way to streamline processes between every party involved in a call for tenders. Created in 2017, AOS (for Appels d’offres Simplifiés or Simplified Calls for Tenders) sparked the interest of VINCI companies, in particular thanks to the support of Leonard and its CATALYST program.
An all-in-one platform to save time and strengthen professional networks
Concretely, AOS offers ordering parties (project managers, project leaders, etc.) a platform for managing consultation processes that centralizes documents, comparative analyses of offers and monitoring of exchanges with partners. Its goal: to increase efficiency in order to finalize tenders in the shortest possible time.
“The goal is to devote more time to building relationships with companies and forging ties, by eliminating non-value-added tasks. The human aspect is particularly strong because the aim is to streamline our interactions”
Marc Giraudot, Commercial Manager at AOS.
This promise has already won over many players in the sector. The start-up now has nearly 450 customers and 50,000 users. It also benchmarks some 20,000 construction companies throughout France. In addition to its monitoring solution, AOS also offers a construction and real estate directory to facilitate networking around projects and provide additional visibility to benchmarked companies. This offer was selected by VINCI Immobilier as it faced the challenge of gathering the right number of companies needed to execute a strong call for tenders:
“Today, my offices are in Nantes, but I’m also carrying out a call for tenders in Fouesnant, at the far end of Brittany. AOS thus offers me invaluable assistance when contacting local companies that may respond to my call for tenders” – Guillaume Piffeteau, Head of Programs at VINCI Immobilier.
In exchange, the Group’s project leaders agreed to supplement the directory with the names of the local companies with which they collaborate. This exchange of best practices between the little start-up and the big corporation serves to mutually enrich each other’s expertise.
Facilitating professional networking to better adapt to the constraints and changes in the sector
Because creating value through professional networking is a central aspect of AOS, it made sense for the start-up to join CATALYST. Created by Leonard in 2019, this incubation program offers select start-ups the opportunity to deal with real life challenges in the field by collaborating with VINCI’s different entities.
“Through a refined selection process, the CATALYST program accelerates networking between start-ups and corporations to form winning partnerships”
Louis Cottin, Head of the CATALYST Program
AOS, VINCI Immobilier and VINCI Construction France are working together on a total of some thirty projects. This partnership allows the start-up to explore a new approach to construction in order to best meet the demands of companies in a continuously changing sector. For their part, the two VINCI Group entities are educating their teams about the digitalization of their businesses through AOS. Guillaume Piffeteau, Head of Programs at VINCI Immobilier, also uses the platform as a management tool:
“VINCI Immobilier’s activities are spread over a vast territory. Since I cannot be physically present on all sites, I use the platform to supervise all current calls for tenders. It’s a tremendous time saver.”
And AOS continues to enhance this flexibility: during the first lockdown, the start-up added an electronic signature module to its tool to overcome the challenge of social distancing and the delay it may have introduced in the advancement of projects.
“We received especially strong demand from our customers but also from the benchmarked companies, since their goals were to save time but also to improve relations between the different stakeholders” – Marc Giraudot, Commercial Manager at AOS.
Gone are the days of the customary big signing sessions, often spread over several weeks. Finalizing a call for tenders now takes just a few minutes.