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Start-ups & Venture Capital

Accelerating the next generation of innovators
Start-ups have led many of the technology, health, and sustainability innovations central to our everyday lives. Fuel, a McKinsey company, was launched in 2014 to help start-ups reach the future faster and improve their odds of success.
Fuel pairs start-up experts with McKinsey’s deep industry and functional expertise and global network. We help founders and their investors accelerate growth with data-driven consulting, capability building, and connections.


Fuel helps start-ups and their investors accelerate growth with data-driven consulting, capability building, and connections. Our market-leading benchmarking tool SaaSRadar helps companies see where they stand against their peers on key financial and operational metrics.

What we do

Pricing excellence

Improve pricing, discount management, and offering design

Growth strategy

Find the next vectors of growth to elevate your trajectory

Consumer acquisition and retention

Implement best practices in digital marketing and loyalty techniques

Rapid market assessment and due diligence

Determine which verticals and use cases to pursue to maximize sales and the total available market

Portfolio benchmarking

Evaluate your portfolio’s performance against relevant venture capital and private equity-backed start-ups

New-business acceleration

Operationalize concepts and enable rapid growth through comprehensive implementation services

Corporate innovation

Stay ahead of innovation and engage start-ups on the most critical strategic imperatives


start-ups served


innovation boot camps


start-up experts

Examples of our work

Operations transformation

Helped an e-commerce player with $150 million in revenue, a shrinking subscriber base, and excess inventory increase EBITDA by more than $14 million through improvements in procurement, demand planning, pricing structure, and customer loyalty.

Sales excellence

Doubled growth for a software start-up’s enterprise segment by halving the onboarding time for sales and increasing sales-representative productivity by 50 to 100 percent.

Customer acquisition

Grew revenue by 30 percent for a specialty e-commerce retailer by developing a digital customer-acquisition strategy, optimizing organic search, and improving paid search performance.

Market expansion

Defined next markets for a consumer internet start-up to enter, identifying candidates to start local offices and identifying and interviewing potential clients; the expansion roadmap became a critical element in the company’s next funding round.

Addressable market insights

Prepared a defensible market-sizing analysis for a B2B software start-up to inform conversations with investors for its next round of funding.

New-business building

Helped define a new business based on unique consumer insight and McKinsey design capabilities, leading to an above-average seed-funding round.

Featured capabilities

McKinsey Academy

McKinsey Academy accelerates transformations by unlocking the power of people


Integrating design and analytics for a step-change in margin growth

Organizational Health Index

Put hard numbers and improvement actions on your organization’s health

Software Product Management & Development

We offer proprietary frameworks, benchmarks and talent development programs to help clients build best-in-class software product and development organizations.

Featured insights


Careem’s co-founders on finding purpose building a unicorn

– Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olsson reflect on the early days of launching their Middle East ride-sharing app, the importance of a company’s meaning, and what lies ahead for both Careem and start-ups in the region.

Building a “digital operating rhythm” with OKR software

– As the pandemic has fueled the growth of remote work and the pace of strategic planning, more companies are looking for greater transparency around goals and execution. Deidre Paknad, the co-founder and CEO of Workboard, is growing a business that provides just that.

Next on the menu for food delivery

– Even as revenue soars, profitability is still a challenge. How can platforms and restaurants get their fill, and what does the future hold for all players in this complex ecosystem?

Winning formula: How Europe’s top tech start-ups get it right

– We studied Europe’s top 1,000 start-ups to learn how they succeed in the region’s fragmented value pool and found the answers lie in four distinct strategic plays.

New at McKinsey Blog

Blog Post

What do these 13 start-ups have in common? McKinsey alums have turned them into unicorns

– With names like DoorDash, Grab and Go-Jek, these alumni-founded companies are fast on the move and on the rise—they have become... unicorns, valued at $1 billion and more.
Blog Post

SXSW Interactive 2019: The big ideas that got us talking

– Flying cars, disruptive products and winning design are a few of the topics McKinsey experts shared at 2019 SXSW Interactive.

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