Patrick Ghilani and John Ensign

Patrick Ghilani and John Ensign

CEO; president and executive managing director for North America at MRI Software

Patrick Ghilani and John Ensign
By October 6, 2023 9:00 AM

MRI Software has more to do with buildings than with brains, but company leaders Patrick Ghilani and John Ensign certainly have both. 

The software company, which uses technology to streamline everything from accounting to leasing, covers 45,000 customers worldwide, with most based in North America. MRI’s 3,275 global employees help the 51-year-old firm use artificial intelligence to aggregate data from leases, manage the footprints of real estate assets, and track who is coming in and out of big-name properties like 1 World Trade Center, Bank of America Tower (aka 1 Bryant Park) and the Empire State Building.

MRI is one of the fastest-growing firms on this list, too, with most of that growth of the M&A variety. It has acquired more than 50 businesses in the last decade, and it isn’t slowing down in 2022, said Ghiliani. On Oct. 3, the firm announced it had acquired Springboard, a shopper foot-traffic and data analytics outfit based in the United Kingdom. 

“Data coming from Springboard, like foot-traffic modeling, a lot of that can help retail establishments better understand their client base,” Ensign said. “We see that as an area where AI can give a lot of lift to our clients.”

Initially backed by an investment from private equity firms, MRI Software is cash flow positive thanks to its long-term contracts with real estate giants, including brokerage Savills, developer Urban Edge Properties and property manager Rose Associates in New York City. Despite recessionary rumblings, Ghiliani is optimistic about the future of the proptech industry as a sector that real estate owners will look to as they seek to navigate a down economy.

“The big concern, I think, is for our clients and for us as it relates to rising inflation and the debt markets,” Ghiliani said. “I think proptech is fairly well positioned to overcome the ups and downs of the economy, and certainly MRI is. On the acquisition front, a down economy certainly makes it a little more difficult to make decent acquisitions.” —C.Y.