— 7 min read

Introduction to Deal Origination

Defining Deal Origination

Deal origination is the first step in the deal making process for investment banks, private equity (PE) firms, and venture capital (VC) companies. 

During the origination phase, dealmakers identify and evaluate new investment opportunities in a given market. This involves tapping into their personal networks, attending events, and using tech-driven online tools.

Why Is Deal Origination Important for Dealmakers?

Private equity firms and investment banks have to keep a steady flow of deals to stay competitive in their market.

Deal origination is the foundation for that consistent flow. During the deal origination phase, dealmakers leverage their networks as well as technology to identify and evaluate new opportunities.

The Deal Origination Process

During the deal origination process, dealmakers dig into specific markets to find leads, nurture relationships, and pitch their services to potential buyers. 

To successfully execute deal origination, investment banks and PE firms use several different strategies.

Strategies for Effective Deal Origination

Successful deal origination requires dealmakers to be knowledgeable about the latest market trends, regulation changes, and competition.

At a high level, there are two main approaches that dealmakers rely on in deal origination:

  • Networking: This is the tried and true, traditional deal origination strategy. Dealmakers tap their team’s broad web of existing relationships and leverage referrals to source new deal opportunities.
  • Tech-based: Dealmakers are increasingly turning to technology-driven platforms for deal origination. Platforms like Grata equip dealmakers with dynamic data and workflow tools to keep the process streamlined and organized.

Deal Origination in Investment Banking

Techniques and Best Practices in Investment Banking Deal Origination

Investment banks operate as intermediaries in the deal making process, meaning they work with the “buy side” (i.e., the PE or VC firm looking to invest) and the “sell side” (i.e., the companies looking to raise capital or sell). This means deal origination for investment banks is often more nuanced than it is for PE or VC firms.

In today’s highly competitive market, relying on traditional networking methods for deal origination won’t cut it. Investment banks need to integrate tech-based platforms into their strategy to help make connections, nurture relationships, and research markets to suss out promising opportunities.

For example, Grata’s platform provides:

  • An AI-powered deal sourcing solution that lets users drill down to the segment and company level in their search with purpose-built filters, including software classifications, revenue, ownership, funding, and more. The Similar Companies tool uses AI to identify themes and suggest other relevant companies, helping dealmakers find a broader pool of potential targets. 
  • Investor Discovery, which allows sell-side bankers to find buyers for clients they’re representing. Grata users can search across 20,000 financial sponsors and 100,000 strategic buyers based on investment criteria and previous deals. 
  • CRM Intel, which integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce, and DealCloud to enhance the deal origination workflow. Grata users can filter searches and lists in the Grata platform with CRM data to identify key relationships and top-scored deal targets. Users can also find up-to-date, verified contact information for company executives in Grata.

To see how Grata can help you optimize deal origination, schedule a demo here.

Deal Origination in Private Equity

Techniques and Best Practices in PE Deal Origination

PE firms sourcing deals through traditional networking methods have to leverage strong personal connections, business networking, and attending industry events. 

These deal origination methods rely heavily on an investor’s personal network and reputation.

But to get the most out of the deal origination process, private equity teams should also explore proprietary deal sourcing, which incorporates technology and data analysis to identify potential investment opportunities.

Proprietary deal origination can involve using online databases, AI-powered software platforms (like Grata), data analytics tools, email marketing tools, and other digital resources to assess and engage with new deal targets. 

Tech-based deal sourcing tools allow private equity firms to bring more potential deals into their pipeline and analyze internal and third party data on a much larger scale. They also offer tracking tools to manage workflows and track connections, increasing the likelihood of success.

Deal Origination in Venture Capital 

Techniques and Best Practices in VC Deal Origination

The VC deal origination process focuses on identifying high growth potential start-ups that fit their investment criteria.

Typical venture capital deal origination techniques include:

  • Building relationships with industry stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, investors, and other VC companies
  • Collaborating with incubators and accelerators to access pools of startups that have already been vetted
  • Participating in startup events, such as pitch competitions and demo days

VC firms can also benefit from bringing technology platforms into their deal origination workflows, especially when it comes to finding relevant networking events. Grata’s Conferences & Events tool helps investors find events in their industry and prioritize attendee lists so they can book more meetings and source better deals.

Sourcing M&A Deals

M&A Deal Origination

For dealmakers, the goal of the M&A origination process is to identify potential acquisition targets based on:

  • How well the company aligns with the investor’s overall strategy
  • How the company performs relative to its competitors
  • The company’s financial performance and market potential

This means dealmakers need to be able to drill down into specific industry segments to find the best fit. Grata’s AI-based search automates deep company research, enabling dealmakers to tap into niches and discover opportunities that they might have missed otherwise. The algorithm also emulates how investment analysts build comp sets so that users can explore relevant similar companies and maximize their results.

But M&A deal origination is unique in that the process can also be originated by companies looking to be acquired. For smaller companies seeking potential acquirers, taking a proactive approach to deal origination is critical. This means they need to build and effectively leverage a broad network of contacts. 

Grata’s Investor Discovery tool helps companies identify and connect with the financial sponsors and strategic acquirers that are right for them. Companies using Grata can: 

  • Search for past investments with specific keywords 
  • Filter for detailed data on EBITDA, revenue, and industry preferences
  • Prioritize investor results by the recency and number of their deals
  • Connect with partners, VPs, and business unit leaders

Deal Origination Services and Platforms

Many investment banks and private equity firms rely on deal origination tech platforms like Grata to discover and connect with investment and acquisition opportunities. 

For example, with Grata’s AI-powered deal origination solution, users can search for companies and market segments with highly specific filters to find targets that align with their unique goals.

Grata’s AI Analyst, Ana, helps dealmakers perform desktop diligence. If they decide they want to reach out to a possible target, they can do so using the updated, verified contact information provided by the Grata platform.

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce, and DealCloud supplement the deal origination workflow by housing proprietary data. They allow dealmakers to track their interactions with clients and prospects as they move down the funnel, and they may even integrate with deal origination tools to enable new workflows that generate deals.

Top deal origination platforms integrate with CRMs to streamline the process of finding and tracking deal targets. Grata users can maximize their deal origination efforts by filtering searches and lists in the Grata platform with CRM data.

Learn more about how Grata can help you get the most out of the deal origination process by scheduling a demo.

Organizational Roles in Deal Origination

How Origination Teams Work

Depending on available resources, firms may establish in-house deal origination teams or outsource some of the tasks to specialist contractors.

In-house deal origination teams are made up of finance professionals with successful track records of sourcing deals. The team’s job is to generate leads and establish a consistent flow of deals for the investment bank, PE, or VC.

Deal origination professionals are increasingly turning to tech solutions like Grata to: 

  • Find the best potential investment targets by refining their searches 
  • Discover relevant networking events to attend  
  • Create new connections and nurture their existing relationships 

Key Personnel in Deal Origination

Common job titles on deal origination teams include:

  • Head of Deal Origination. This role leads the deal origination and business pipeline processes for private equity, venture capital, investment banking, or M&A.
  • Senior Director - Deal Origination Team. Professionals in this role are well versed in the growth-stage landscapes of particular industries and have a deep understanding of how deals are sourced. They manage new business opportunities and client relationships.
  • Business Development Associate, Deal Origination. Team members in this position are responsible for assisting in the execution of the firm’s deal origination strategy. This includes creating and nurturing relationships with prospects and monitoring deal flow.

How Can Grata Help?

Are you part of a deal origination team at an investment bank or private equity firms looking to deepen your search for deal targets and streamline workflows? Grata can help. Schedule a demo today

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