Yes, it is pretty normal for investors to not want to sign an NDA when hearing your startup pitch. The reason is that they don’t want to lock themselves into keeping an idea that they have yet to hear a secret. The typical investor hears tons of pitches and it just wouldn’t make any practical sense for them to sign an NDA for each and every pitch that they hear. Also, an investor isn’t likely to steal your idea from you; if the investor likes the idea, he will invest in it. So, you shouldn’t really be worried about a potential investor signing an NDA.
On the other hand, you should still have basically anyone else that comes in contact with your company sign an NDA. People like employees, contractors, suppliers, etc. In short, these people will be more directly involved in working with the information you are trying to protect and they are also more likely to expose your protected information to other parties.
You will want your NDA to provide for what type of information is protected and for how long the protection will last. It should also provide for how the information will be used and under what circumstances a limited disclosure is permitted, if at all. Really, you can craft the specifics of your NDA however you like. But, keep in mind that if your NDA is too one-sided or tries to claim too much information as protected, it may be hard to get someone to sign it.
During the startup stage, I would suggest hiring an attorney to help you with crafting your NDAs. It is important to protect everything that you can and an experienced attorney will be able to help you craft your NDAs based on your company’s specific needs. If you have questions and want to consult with an attorney who has experience crafting NDAs, you should check outwhere we will match you with a top attorney for a free consultation.