PropTech In A Time Of Brexit: MRI Software CEO Patrick Ghilani Says Opportunity Lurks
MRI Software is growing rapidly through the UK, as property owners consume increasing amounts of PropTech. Investment in the sector reached £2.1B in the first three quarters of 2016, compared to £1.3B in whole of 2015. In the last month, Savills and TH Real Estate chose MRI Software's new Version X software to manage their local and global real estate portfolios and investments. CEO Patrick Ghilani talked to us about how Brexit made his company pivot, and where he sees the next wave of PropTech.
Version X is a web-based tool that allows users to model different scenarios to see the impact of a wide variety of events, including big global events like Brexit.
Property technology is poised to become a major disruptor in how owners, operators and investors do business, Ghilani said. Real estate companies across the globe rely on technology to make sound strategic decisions and business adjustments as market conditions change.
Ghilani’s customers are already showing an impact from Brexit, and they are clamoring for tools that will help them gain clarity and get ahead of the curve.
“Vacancy is creeping up, and several multinational corporations are moving out of the UK,” Ghilani said. “Customers need a way to determine future values of their portfolios and we provide that.”
MRI Software itself changed course because of Brexit, choosing Dublin to host its new state-of-the-art data centre to serve the company’s clients in Europe. Ghilani said the company was originally going to put the centre in the UK, but the unknowns relating to Brexit pushed it to Dublin.
“Dublin has a good talent pool, it’s logistically close to the continent, and it has good technical infrastructure,” Ghilani said.
Despite Brexit, opportunities do abound in the UK for PropTech firms, Ghilani said.
“In sustainability and design, nobody can compete with Europe. Those are definitely areas European commercial real estate companies will continue to excel.”
There are other areas of opportunity in the UK that Ghilani is eager to seize.
“PRS is significantly booming and a big area for growth in the UK,” Ghilani said. MRI Software has traditionally been focused on commercial property software, but expanded to include a private rented sector version, which will launch later this year.
Looking ahead, Ghilani said real estate joint ventures are providing another ripe area of growth for PropTech companies.
“Accounting for multiple ownership of single assets is complicated very quickly, and I expect there will be a lot of mergers, joint ventures and other complex transactions in the near future,” Ghilani said.