Do investors ever keep an eye on ideas that they’ve rejected? I’ve been told “come back in a while” a few times. Does this actually mean I can go back for a second shot at them?
No and yes, in that order. There are broadly speaking three possible outcomes to a pitch:
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No: This comes in a variety of forms; from the direct “no” or “not for us” to the more oblique “this investment does not fit my investment profile”.
Either way, the result is the same – you are all done here.
Yes: This is obviously the outcome you are after. It doesn’t mean, “yes, I’ll invest”, it means, “yes, I’ll explore the opportunity further”.
You get to have a second meeting or send through more information for the investor to understand the opportunity better.
Come back in a while: Unless the investor is just having a hard time saying no, then this does mean that they are interested in your business idea. But don’t feel that you have proved enough of your key assumptions to justify an investment at this stage.
You can read more about this in a previous post.
In addition to providing more proof of the case for the business, staying in touch gives the investor an opportunity to get to know the entrepreneur better.
There is nothing more comforting to an investor than to have an entrepreneur lay out a plan for the next three to six months, provide regular updates along the way, and then come back having accomplished what they set out to do.
If you say what you’ll do and then do what you say, that is a terrific basis upon which to invest.
If an investor has outright rejected an idea, then I think it would be unusual for them to keep an eye on it.
If the investor hears about your great progress, then they may reach out again, but active monitoring takes up too much valuable time.
If they think you might have potential, then they’ll say come back in a while and put the onus on you to provide updates.