The ultimate Cheat Sheet for pitching to the Giant Leap Fund

How to pitch our fund to give you the best chance of success
December 1, 2021
Charlie Macdonald

Each week, the Giant Leap Fund receives an average of more than 20 pitches from startups across Australia. That means we’ll see over 1,000 decks this year, each typically over 10 slides long, for a total exceeding 10k in slides.

I review each and every one of them.

This is because we at Giant Leap know that running a startup is hard and pitching for investment can be harder. We respect the effort and so we make sure we’re putting in the time to consider each pitch properly.

In the spirit of making the founder experience a little easier, I’ve put together this cheat sheet on how to pitch our fund.

My hope is this will give you the best chance of success and provide some clarity on the decisions we make. At the very least, this is a look at the inner workings of a startup investor — you might just find a tasty insight you can use to your advantage.

Ready for the inside scoop?

Who are we and what does impact investing mean?

Giant Leap Fund is the first Venture Capital (VC) fund in Australia that is 100% focused on impact investments.

Impact investing means that we back game-changing founders re-imagining industries and using business as a force for good.

When is the right stage to speak to us?

In capital raising language, we invest in Pre-Seed (pre-revenue, but with a compelling value proposition) through to Series A stage businesses (consistent, growing revenues).

However, it’s never too early to reach out to us.


  • Business is built on long-term relationships. We love to get to know founders and watch their progress before making an investment.
  • We try to provide help where we can for early stage founders. For instance, if there’s a fit, we can introduce you to angels in our network who may be better suited to earlier stage investments.

How to get to us?

Around half of the pitches we receive are from people we’ve met (i.e. “warm referrals”) and the other half are from people reaching out via our website.

While we review every pitch that is sent to us, there is an advantage to finding a warm referral. Business relationships are built on trust, and a warm referral can be a shortcut to establishing that trust foundation.

As examples, these referrals can be from:

  • Founders in our portfolio
  • Angel investors
  • VC funds
  • Accelerator programs
  • Others in our network (refer to LinkedIn)

We realise, however, that it’s not always easy for founders to find these intros. And we are passionate about giving every founder a fair shot, regardless of who they may know.

If you feel you cannot find a warm referral, here are some other ways to get to know us before sending a pitch deck:

  • If you feel your business is a clear fit the fund, we hold regular office hours at co-working spaces around the country. These sessions allow us to get to know you and your business ahead of seeing a pitch deck.
  • Subscribe to our Small Steps newsletter and get to know the events, content, and ideas we are passionate about. Incorporating some of these into your pitch or saying “Hi” at an event is a great shortcut to catching our eye.

What do we look for?

The impact screen

Every pitch deck we see passes through a screening process which starts with the question:

At a glance, is your business making a positive social or environmental impact?

We realise this question can be subjective and most founders start businesses with great intentions. In general, we get excited about businesses that aren’t just avoiding harm and/or creating jobs, but are actively contributing to sustainability or social solutions. To see how we think about impact and assess your own company, check out Giant Leap's impact calculator.

We will need an emphatic YES to the following three questions to pass the impact screen.

  • Is the impact baked into the business model? (i.e. is every dollar of revenue generated inherently linked to the positive impact?)
  • Does the founder show clear passion for the impact mission?
  • Can the impact be measured?

The commercial screen

We will then ask ourselves, “Do we believe there is…”

  • A compelling solution to a painful problem for customers? (Note: proven traction acquiring customers and revenue is an excellent way to demonstrate this)
  • A big enough market opportunity for the business to grow 10x its size?
  • A team that has the right skills and resilience to succeed?
  • A competitive advantage that can be sustained?

If you inspire belief on these points, there is an excellent chance the team will want to meet you.

How can I raise my chances of getting you interested?

Reading this post is a good start.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Tailor your pitch so your impact proposition and traction (i.e. customers or revenue to date) are clearly stated. We look for these things first.
  • Try to summarise the value proposition in 1 or 2 clear sentences that anyone could understand. We see your ability to do this as a clear indicator of a focused business.
  • Provide sources or assumptions for your market size. We see lots of big — but dubious — estimates, so a clearly justified one will stand out.
  • Avoid using jargon. Remember that we are not necessarily experts in your domain. If we don’t understand your business, we’re not going to be able to get excited about it.
  • Don’t neglect the design of the deck! This is your business card, and you want to make a good impression from the get-go. This is especially true for companies where branding will be important.

What if you get a ‘no’?

If, after you send us your deck, we respond declining the opportunity with some feedback and nothing else, this is typically a firm decision to pass. It’s nothing personal, its just that the opportunity doesn’t quite fit with our particular fund (Note: we realise we won’t always get this part right! Unfortunately, that’s the nature of trying to pick game-changers).

However, our response might include a request to keep us updated. This means we’re curious, but we want to see the business progress a bit further, perhaps with the help of a key angel investor who can provide domain expertise and guidance.

Next steps?

If you read this cheat sheet and can’t help but think we should know about your business, submit your pitch via our online portal or line up some time at our next round of office hours.

This was originally published on Startup Daily.

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