Ganesh Shankar, AJ Sunder and Sankar Lagudu worked in different departments of an enterprise software company. But their challenges were similar. Every time the company participated in a bidding, each of their departments were required to send their inputs to the sales team, which participates in hundreds of bidding in a month.
When the trio looked for a response management software to automate the tender for proposal (RFP) process, they couldn’t find one.
“We were using different tools such as Salesforce, Google Docs, Microsoft SharePoint and Atlassian Notes but none of these are purposefully built to automate the RFP process. So, we decided to build one by ourselves,” Ganesh Shankar, CEO and Co-Founder of RFPIO, told Businessline.
In 2016, Shankar, Sunder, Lagudu officially launched RFPIO, a cloud-based platform that automates and streamlines the process of responding to RFPs with its headquarters in Oregon, United States.
RFPIO enables sales teams to respond, create and manage sales proposals through an AI-based solution that makes sales pitches faster, accurate and more collaborative. From automated responses, RFPs, security questionnaires, simplifying multi-team collaboration through an in-app communication tool to managing subject matter expertise through a content library, RFPIO offers end-to-end solutions for RFP response management.
“Every time a seller participates in a bid, they need to share multiple facets of the product/services they offer including its price, technology, past experience of the service provider, scale of implementation etc. At the buyer’s end, they need to evaluate all these parameters for each of the bids. So, a lot of time, money and energy is spent by both buying and selling,” Shankar explains.
RFPIO enables comparison of multiple proposals from different sellers under a single dashboard. It also allows blind scoring, which enables buyers to evaluate a bid without any bias.
“We were using Google, Salesforce, Microsoft and Atlassian tools as a workaround solution. Today, they are using RFPIO as a mainstream solution for their RFP management,” Shankar said.
Microsoft case study
In a case study, technology giant Microsoft found that in the first 18 months after implementing RFPIO in 2019, more than 7,000 Microsoft users accessed the platform to find 36,200 ready-to-go RFx responses from the managed RFPIO content library. With a conservative estimate of 20 minutes saved per response, Microsoft estimated $2.4M in savings during those 18 months.
RFPIO today has 2,000 customers including Accenture, Adobe, Capgemini, Roche, LinkedIn and Visa to name a few. In India, Genpact, Freshworks, Chargebee, Whatfix and Postman are some of its marquee clients.
“About 15 per cent of our clients are Fortune 500 companies and 65 per cent of our revenue comes from the US market while the remaining is spread across the rest of the world,” Shankar said.
RFPIO claims that over $182 billion worth of tenders have been submitted through the platform in the last six years. Currently, RFPIO has 350 employees spread between the US and India (Coimbatore).
“By the end of 2023, our aim is to have 600 employees and 3,000 clients and our focus now is to grow outside the US. So, we are building a team in the Netherlands, Europe and Germany,” Shankar said.
In June 2021, RFPIO acquired RFP360, a software solution provider for sourcing and procurement teams. “Since the beginning, we were focussing on the seller side (RFP automation), the acquisition has enabled us to offer solutions for the buying side as well,” Shankar added.
Once the integration of the acquired company is complete, RFPIO is planning to approach the government e-marketplace (GeM) and other procurement agencies to automate their process, he added.