Onepoint invests €100M to build an 800-people campus in Bordeaux


800-people campus in Bordeaux

Onepoint invests €100M to build an 800-people campus in Bordeaux

by Mikaël Lozano  |  03/06/2019
David Layani, founder of onepoint (photo credit: DR).

Onepoint, a company specializing in digital transformation, has confirmed the creation of a campus in the Bordeaux-Euratlantique business district. The campus, which will require a €100M investment, will host 800 people and offer several training programs when it’s completed in 2021, it. Over the coming four years, onepoint wants to hire 1,000 people in France’s South-West area.

With offices in Bordeaux and Toulouse (South-West France), onepoint, the specialist of digital transformation and IT services, has developed rapidly under the leadership of its founder, David Layani. He had already announced his intention to make a substantial investment in the Bordeaux region, particularly in the area around the so-called “Digital City,” located at the heart of Bordeaux’s business district and currently undergoing a major transformation.

In a press release published this morning, onepoint confirmed such intention:

“Facing the enormous challenges posed by new technologies, onepoint’s South-West France branch will have developed a unique campus in the Bordeaux-Euratlantique business district by 2021. This €100 million investment will help create a showcase for onepoint’s expertise. Almost eight hundred people will be working together under one roof, including employees, clients, students, startups, and business partners. The campus will feature open offices, creativity-fostering spaces, a FabLab, a training institute as well as housing for employees.”

According to Erwan Le Bronec, Head of the South-West France branch, onepoint “relies on its great capacity to innovate and a strong collective dynamic. An R&D unit is already in place to drive research in areas such as AI, neuroscience, and cognitive science, which are relevant nationwide.”

In partnership with Covivio

“We are working on this project with the real estate company Covivio,” Le Bronec told La Tribune. “The goal is centralizing our needs as well as those of our clients and partners. Covivio has considerable experience in construction and space planning, while we have extensive experience delivering services. We’re still discussing some issues with Covivio, such as the ownership of the walls and the division of the property, and the architecture firm is yet to be chosen, but we’d like to have completed the project in two or three years. We still haven’t decided on the height of the building, but what is certain is that it will cover a surface area of 30,000 square meters, encompassing office spaces for both our partners and us, a FabLab, and several training programs.”

Onepoint wants to hire 1,000 people for its South-West France branch in the coming four years, to increase its staff across the Bordeaux and Toulouse offices, which currently number 270 and 30 employees, respectively.

“The local training offer can’t be expanded,” added Le Bronec, “and, since we have a specific hiring policy, junior employees and interns make up only 10% of our staff. We mainly focus on hiring experienced professionals, and currently, there’s no training scheme available to enable these people who have four, five, or six years of experience to up the game and become experts in their fields. So, we’re going to create this type of training programs at our campus, and we also intend to promote retraining schemes with courses that start from scratch. On top of this, we want to set up partnerships with existing organizations, such as the Wild Code School (which offers coding training programs), like the one we already have with Microsoft for the creation of an AI school in Bordeaux in collaboration with Simplon (a digital training school). These partners may even be based on our premises. But developers aren’t the only candidates that we’re interested in, far from it. We also hire people with communication and marketing backgrounds, HR reps, project managers… So while it’s true that, in the beginning, our center in Bordeaux primarily delivered technical support services, today we’re addressing digital transformation more holistically, from strategy to implementation.”

“Bordeaux has become a digital hub”

In the short term, onepoint will need to temporarily relocate a part of their teams to the Digital City in order to test different configurations before implementing them at scale on their future campus. Le Bronec points out that there were several reasons to choose Bordeaux-Euratlantique for this project:

“The high-speed train that connects Paris with Bordeaux in 2 hours and the closeness of the main train station tipped the balance in favor of Euratlantique. The Digital City is also close by, which is important to ensure the integration of the campus into the regional ecosystem. At a more general level, Bordeaux has earned a reputation as a digital hub that enables local companies to expand across France, a fertile soil for startups to evolve into small and mid-sized companies.”

Toulouse was a runner-up for the XXL campus project, but “the city is too focused on the aerospace sector and depends too much on it,” declared Le Bronec. “Airbus’ contribution to the economy remains significant, and anything affecting the company can easily impact businesses in the local environment, regardless of their industry.”

David Layani was born in Paris in 1979. He dropped out of high school when he was 16 to start a career in real estate. He was then hired by EMC, a manufacturer of CPU processors (since acquired by Dell), where he discovered the business world. This experience allowed him to gain some perspective and develop some strong convictions: “I firmly believed that we needed to rely on both human beings and new technologies to transform organizations.” By the end of the 1990s, he witnessed the birth of the Internet, sensing that it would disrupt the economy and that we would need to rethink organizations completely. At 22, he sold his car and got a loan from his uncle to create onepoint. His vision? Setting up a structure that proposed a single entry point (one-point) for his clients. His method? Leveraging the four main aspects of transformation in the digital age, namely artificial intelligence, platformization of services, design applied to digital tools, and collective intelligence. Today, his group has a €300 million turnover and employs 2,300 people across its offices in Europe, North America, Tunisia, Australia, and Singapore.