If you haven’t noticed middle market private equity dealmakers trolling for deal flow these days, just join the cocktail hour of an industry networking event. Buyers, sellers, intermediaries (and others) frantically seek each other at these events, exchanging business cards and pieces of paper, as M&A activity heats up.

I’m sure that searching for deals was a similar exercise 20 years ago (maybe even 50). You’d think things would have changed, considering the increased cross-border M&A activity, or considering we have tools like internet, social networking and iPads. But they haven’t. Let’s see why.

Here’s an excerpt from a brochure related to a recent event (organized by Capital Roundtable):

With more and better deals out there, there’s also a great deal of competition. So it’s never been so important to refine your strategy, improve your tactics, and study the approaches that are working for others. You just don’t want random deal flow. Rather, you want the right deal flow where you see opportunities that are relevant to your strengths — and likely to be successful.

That takes a thoughtful marketing plan, one that you execute with precision and recalibrate as needed. And it takes familiarity with all the potential avenues for originating deals today, from intermediaries and auctions and trade shows and ACG parties — to email campaigns and LinkedIn networks and Google AdWords….

And today, most firms are trying to figure out how to leverage social media and Internet presences into tangible deal sourcing. Yet before you jump in with both feet, you’ll want to know how results are being generated by Facebook pages, LinkedIn groups, and Twitter tweets.

While no 800-pound gorilla website has yet evolved for aggregating private equity deals, …..

So it seems like you need more time (and more money) today to find deals, even though there are more channels than ever to connect with the right people. No wonder, things haven’t changed much.

They will, only if the 800 pound gorilla turns out to be more than just a website or a portal (or a social networking site, for that matter). The gorilla would have to take the critical elements of the old-school networking and relationships and scale them for a global M&A arena.

That’s our goal.

The outcome – Dealmakers won’t have to go looking for sellers (or buyers) – the deals will come to them … without having to pay anything.

The technology – cloud computing (the same technology that Navatar Private Equity and Navatar M&A runs on).

Stay tuned.

Alok Misra