‘deal’ origination, really?

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I suppose this is more of an observation rather than a blog post. My observation is on the old-school focus of ‘deal’ origination as it is still referred to in a good number of private equity firms. I was recently approached by a chap who’s role was ‘Deal Originator’ and it struck me then (perhaps due to my time outside more traditional firms) as odd.

Old-school and odd because it emphasises the financial transaction (the deal), is short-term (it focusses on the deal and not the long-term value-add and post-deal relationship) and is a very one-sided way of referring to the investment (the deal is after all the measure for the private equity firm whilst the entrepreneur/team has much more complex motivations).

Whilst I can understand that this might be a useful way of internally describing a role for a private-equity individual/team, it strikes me as an odd way to talk about origination from an external perspective. Call it poor marketing…… although external presentation is often a good expression of internal intent/action.

Much more apporiate these days would be ‘Opportunity origination’, ‘Partner search’, ‘Relationship building’, ‘Relationship origination’ or simply ‘Ambassador’. Softer but more stand-out and perhaps more relevant to the true way in which great private equity firms get proprietary ‘deals’. They work at them, build a relationship and give something/a lot prior to getting the ‘deal’. Look out for those guys, they’re out there.