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15 Best Startup Consulting Firms in 2023

Kison Patel
Kison Patel

Kison Patel is the Founder and CEO of DealRoom, a Chicago-based diligence management software that uses Agile principles to innovate and modernize the finance industry. As a former M&A advisor with over a decade of experience, Kison developed DealRoom after seeing first hand a number of deep-seated, industry-wide structural issues and inefficiencies.

CEO and Founder of M&A Science and FirmRoom

As startups are not yet established in their structure and operations, they may need some help along the way. Startup consulting firms play an important role in the early stages and guide their clients on how to move forward.

FirmRoom helps startups showcase their business and secure the investments they need to succeed. With a secure and user-friendly platform, FirmRoom makes it easy to store, share, and manage your sensitive business information

This is the list of the best startup consulting firms in 2023.

What is Startup Consulting? 

Startup consulting is when specialized advisors are brought into a startup on a short term basis to help move a specific aspect of the company forward. These consultants ask questions, analyze the data, prepare a report, and make recommendations.They provide expertise and an outside perspective that can help startups grow and develop. 

Why Startups Seek Consulting? 

By working with a startup consultant, startups can benefit from their expertise, experience, and connections, helping them achieve their goals.

The help of consultants ensures that along the way, they have viable plans with concrete data to back them; they avoid running into any potential problems that might occur; and they receive feedback from an unbiased, outside perspective that does not have any personal stake in the company.

Also, they might need specific, targeted help in an area that those in leadership positions at the startup are not as well versed in, such as compliance and legal standards. 

1. L.E.K. Consulting 

L.E.K. startup consulting is a multinational management consulting firm which provides services throughout the client’s journey. They cover areas such as marketing, new product consulting, pricing, and Salesforce effectiveness. When there is no clear solution, L.E.K. offers their expertise via their consultants with decades of experience to view challenges from a new light.

They engage in large amounts of research, benchmarking, modeling, analysis, and strategy development. Then, through targeted interventions, they uncover value opportunities that may have previously been missed. They use a hands-on, collaborative approach to developing solutions for long-term success. Especially useful for a startup, they utilize a philosophy of evidence, not opinion, to fully analyze the problem and understand the market dynamics. 

Size: 1400 employees 

Industries: Healthcare, travel, financial services, business services, private equity 

Location: Boston, Massachusetts 

2. GrowthGirls  

GrowthGirls was founded by women and works mainly with female entrepreneurs and brands with a largely female audience. A large focus of theirs is on marketing for startups, and advising them in the most effective way to do so. Their approach is data-driven, analyzing which types of marketing work the best for which industry. They assist with acquisition by helping to establish and maintain a continuous flow of prospects and avoid wasting money in the wrong channels.

They help to optimize customer activation by removing any activation bottlenecks. With retention, they analyze the rates, build techniques to bring users back, and optimize communication. They also aim to generate more revenue by increasing your payable customer base, maximizing free trial conversions, and increasing the MRR. A unique offering is their growth score quiz, which tells you from a basic overview what your startup may need to work on and how they can help you before you ever reach out to them for help. 

Size: Less than 25 employees 

Industries: Commerce, SaaS, B2B business, B2C services 

Location: London, United Kingdom 

3. Ernst & Young (EY) 

EY is a globally renowned accounting, startup consulting, and professional services firm with experience in tax, assurance, consulting, and strategy. Of specific use to startups are their business reinvention consulting services, where they help businesses reimagine their digital footprint and ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page, working towards a share goal to increase value.

They address specific business challenges, including megatrends such as urbanization, digitalization, and sustainability. EY steps in to overcome unscalable technology and help startups to keep up with changing customer expectations. EY’s solution benefits help to identify and implement shifts in the areas of customers, people, societal, and financial, to reduce time-to-impact and create and protect long-term value.

EY also helps startups prepare to adapt to changes that they may have to go through as they grow and develop. As a well known consulting firm, they are a trusted source for businesses of all types. 

Size: 300,000+

Industries: private equity, health sciences and wellness, consumer products and retail, financial services, technology, media, and telecommunications 

Location: London, United Kingdom/U.S. 

4. Bain & Company 

Bain & Company is another well known consulting firm. Although less known for their work in startup consulting, they have developed the Bain Innovation Exchange, a global team with deep experience in the start-up and venture capital worlds. They have a network of both startups and investors, making the necessary connections to see results.The “Innovation Kickstarter” provides strategy mapping and model development based on what those in the industry have been successful with.

Their ecosystem services help startups to understand where disruption is happening today and reveal trends for the future, as well as specific startups, to inform you if the need you are trying to address is already met.

Bain also offers Venture Capital as a service, enabling them to act as the VC arm of a company and amplify the reach, leverage, and success of your program. The startup remains in control of fund strategy and investment decisions, but Bain is there to offer advice and lead players in the right direction. 

Size: 13,000 employees 

What industries or transactions they specialize in: private equity, advanced manufacturing services, technology, healthcare & life sciences, retail

Location: Boston, Massachusetts 

5. IBM Garage 

IBM Garage provides comprehensive consulting solutions in the digital sphere. They have an expert team to assist with the generation of innovative ideas and, therefore, value creation. IBM will not take over a startup, but works with teams to create a framework that will guide them through decisions. IBM Garage collaborates with startup teams to focus on the needs of a specific customer set.

It can create and launch a plan in eight weeks, and strengthen the solution to scale across the customer base. They work to bring the customer’s pain points into focus, empower your startup team to take risks, encourage technological advances, and measure and analyze the value of each action. They also accelerate solutions by providing reference architectures, code pattern and design libraries, and orchestration framework.

While a relatively small consulting firm, IBM Garage handles enterprise-grade workloads and multi cloud environments. Some of their key innovations include their automations for business and IT operations. 

Size: 25,000 employees 

Industries: sustainability, business operations, IT

Location: Armonk, New York

6. Accenture Ventures 

Accenture Ventures is an investment and engagement program for entrepreneurs addressing strategic innovation gaps for Accenture’s global enterprise clients. Essentially, they look for startups that can solve the problems of the companies they are already working with, building the network of the startup and solidifying their client relationships.

Accenture Ventures has investments in more than thirty startups. Of note, they have recently launched Project Spotlight, which offers startups the opportunity to work with internal Accenture talent, giving them access to tools and resources that they might not have had prior.

Another one of the important resources that Accenture Ventures is able to provide is giving startups an understanding of real business problems and industry domains, so that they can plan and proactively address those. 

Size: Approximately 10,000 employees 

Industries: software, technology, chemicals, capital markets, life sciences 

Location: San Francisco, California 

7. Fuel 

Fuel Consulting was founded by one woman, and has grown to be a company recognized for talent and dedication to their customers’ missions, making that their number one priority. They hire consultants who become the trusted advisors to their customers. They specialize in powering organizational change, and transform challenges into opportunities.

Some of their offerings include strategic planning, performance management, marketing and communications, advanced analytics, and IT services. One thing that sets them apart is their strategic planning. While other firms offer big-concept, “strategic” consulting services without a concrete action, Fuel translates that planning into action, creating an approach that will be ready when they face real-time, real-world challenges.

One example of this is contingency planning for federal organizations; for one, they were able to create a dialogue among the stakeholders that readied them to respond to a dynamic environment. 

Size: Less than 25 employees 

What industries or transactions they specialize in: federal, nonprofit, commercial

Location: Wildomar, California 

8. Deloitte Catalyst  

Deloitte Catalyst was created to act as a growth partner for startups looking for access to scale opportunities, as a part of the Deloitte network. They help startups innovate, scale, and deliver more value faster.

They provide end-to-end solutions to inform and incubate the startups that they work with. Services across the entrepreneurial life cycle help to speed up business growth. Plus, they work closely with Deloitte’s pre-existing worldwide community of catalysts to find investors and others who can play a role in development.

This provides for your startup a global ecosystem of technologies and innovators locally accessible to deliver unmet needs of both business and customers. Services they offer include audit, tax, government incentives, fundraising, NetSuite implementation, strategy validation, M&A, and SOC. 

Size: 100,000+ employees 

Industries: enterprises, government agencies  

Location: New York, New York (headquarters), U.S., Israel  

9. Nielsen Innovate 

Nielsen Innovate is an early-stage incubator and investment fund that functions similarly to an outsourced, internal consulting team. Their goal is to help early-stage startups become established in the market as successful companies. They are heavily involved in the process, working closely with the startup from idea to commercialization and providing strategic advice.

Being a part of Nielsen, they have an inside insight into what consumers watch and buy if they are a part of the Nielsen network. They also operate internationally. What sets them apart is that they do not charge for their consulting services; instead, they provide the startups they are working with with funding and then ensure that they succeed

A downside to this may be that they have a bias in wanting the startup to succeed, and may make decisions with that in mind, rather than having an objective perspective. 

Size: 44,000 employees 

Industries: retail, research, marketing, media technology 

Location: Israel

10. Capgemini

Capgemini partners with startups to transform and manage their business by focusing on the value of technology. For upwards of 50 years, they have been utilizing technology for business transformation. They address all business needs, from strategy and design to managing operations.

Capgemini is made up of deep industry experts, as well as experts in cloud, data artificial intelligence, connectivity, software, digital engineering, and platforms. The three “fields” that they focus on are Customer First, Intelligent Industry, and Enterprise Management.

Their end-to-end cloud services set them apart; they offer sector-specific expertise, advanced cloud technologies, and global resources to guide your cloud journey. These solutions can be utilized for customers, enterprise, and the intelligence industry alike. 

Size: 340,000 employees 

Industries: aerospace and defense, banking and capital markets, media and entertainment, public sector, consumer products 

Location: Grenoble, France

11. Business Consulting Agency 

Business Consulting Agency specializes in startup and small business consulting, marketing, and technology consulting services, as well as legal business formation, strategy and planning, business structure development, and vendor selection. They are a full-service consulting agency, providing a comprehensive set of services, depending on the needs of the startup that they are working with.

Above all, they aim to teach their clients the value of a business and how to optimize that by providing business education, training, and coaching. For startups specifically, they are experts in the early stages of business venture and are able to provide guidance and advice on all aspects.

Setting them apart is their payment structure; startups working with Business Consulting Agency are able to pre-purchase consulting hours and work with agency consultants as needed for specific projects and tasks. 

Size: 11-50 employees 

Industries: digital business, international business, marketing, social media, small business. 

Location: Portland, Oregon

12. Booz Allen Hamilton 

Booz Allen Hamilton prides themselves on staying ahead of the changing business, political, and security landscapes by providing agile solutions with problem solving, innovative change management tools, and resource management.

They have existed for more than a century, and have a claim to fame for their role in inventing the management consulting profession; enabling the U.S. Navy to reinvent itself into a force; merging the National and American Football Leagues to help create the Super Bowl, and designing the early concepts of what supply chain management looks like today.

A unique aspect of consulting that Booz Allen Hamilton provides is human capital planning; this means that they work with clients to refine workforce strategy, provide tactics to maximize performance and employee satisfaction, and provide learning and development programs to improve recruiting, onboarding, and retention. 

Size: 29,300 employees 

Industries: defense, commercial, energy, resources, utilities, space, intelligence

Location: McLean, Virginia 

13. Solutionery 

Solutionery is a tech-startup consulting firm whose mission is the commercialization of an idea through the provision of research and guidance. Their cost is one of the most competitive on the market.

Solutionery’s expertise in cutting-edge technology stands out among other startup consulting firms; their specialization in the areas of Internet of Things, AI, and data analysis set them apart. They also provide technology review, prototype development, project management, and subcontracting. Essentially, their role is to create the foundation for a startup to grow from.

Solutionery’s team is composed of experts with a background in mathematics, physics, software engineering, investment solutions, and more; this diverse expertise allows them to provide a high level of a wide variety of services. 

Size: 201-500 employees

Industries: technology 

Location: Finland 

14. ScienceSoft 

ScienceSoft provides IT consulting and software development services. They offer experience in a wide range of technologies, software types, and industry vertices. ScienceSoft provides consulting services to help business founders plan and design software products and establish a cost-efficient software development program.

This is useful for startups who are building their businesses, because this development can be one of the crucial components in getting off the ground. Software development resources they provide include software consulting, software development outsourcing, team augmentation, software modernization, custom software development, and cloud application development.

Additionally, they provide data analytics to convert historical and real-time data into actionable insights. This is applicable to business intelligence, data warehousing, data management, data analytics as a service, big data, data science, and machine and deep learning. While their services are specialized, there is a universal need for consulting in these areas.  

Size: 500-1000 employees 

Industries: IT, software

Location: McKinney, Texas

15. Consumer Magnetism 

Consumer Magnetism began as an SEO agency in 2000, and have since evolved into a marketing startup consulting firm working with both large and small businesses. They focus on creative marketing and advertising, online brand establishment, and revenue generation.

By learning about the past and present marketing campaigns of startups, they are able to develop a plan that fits each individual goal and budget. They combine various marketing channels, such as social media and content marketing, paid search and natural search marketing, and web design and development.

Further, they redesign websites for mobile platforms and to make them more attractive to users and investors alike. The Consumer Magnetism team is made up of creators, strategists, designers, developers, and more. 

Size: 11-50 employees 

Industries: Any industry, but specifically those that rely heavily on online marketing

Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia  

Summary 

The use of startup consulting firms can be helpful for short term, targeted work.

Hire startup consultants that can help you with an aspect of your business that has been identified as a weakness, or an area that those involved do not know much about.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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