FuelUp versus Incubators

In een eerdere ontmoeting met de founders van FuelUp viel het mij op dat zij gedeeltelijk een taak overnemen die veel incubators uitvoeren; zij zorgen voor de matchmaking tussen corporates en start-ups. Ik vroeg hen om een blog te schrijven over hun visie op zichzelf versus incubators. 



FuelUp connects corporations and startups to facilitate innovation. We achieve this via our online platform, which plugs into startup information across the web and the world, and triggers discovery by a term or topic (aka, a query). In a nutshell, we pinpoint one group’s problem, whose size and structure hinder their ability to fix their problem, and turn to another group, smaller, more agile, to help solve the problem.

In addition to simply getting a customer, the smaller, more agile group receives the ability to scale their product and venture to the next step of their business journey. Sometimes these relationships flourish into a joint venture or a larger partnership.


Incubators help with that too, especially the ones that come out of corporations. But where incubators nurture and cultivate to introduce new talent into the marketplace with the help of corporations, FuelUp aims to create mutually beneficial relationships from the get go. Where incubators invest in the development of a startup, we invest in the creation of a relationship. We’re a startup ourselves, working directly with corporations to find startup partners, and thus, helping startups too. With all that, it’s safe to say that we inhabit an interesting space within the startup ecosystem. The way we see it, we’re committed to creating real opportunities and growth.

The interest in startups and innovative tech continues to grow, but the starting point for collaboration remains decentralized and happenstance. Many corporates meet startups via conferences/events or establish a relationship with an incubator. While the former circumstance provides an excellent opportunity to uncover exciting trends and new technology, barriers exist (such as entry fees and application processes) that cut down the ability to harvest the most optimal match.

Some corporate-backed incubators remain completely agnostic to the corporate partner (a best practice in yielding top results), but some develop criteria for the startups in order to create a convenient outcome for the corporation. Some startups may prefer this incubator option, reasoning that their final result can already attract a big customer and potentially generate a large market release. In either instance, however, a real sense of choice remains missing.


As anyone in the business of finding tech talent and opportunity knows, startup scouting is a laborious task, riddled with uncertainty and missed connections. FuelUp does not directly aim to scout for startups or funnel candidates to incubators, rather we strive to provide an ideal entry point for both parties. We develop the means for corporates to better understand the technology of their market so they can craft an optimal plan of action for external innovation.

The purpose of our platform is to answer questions like, “But is anyone already doing that?”, “How many startups in X place are working in X industry?” and, most importantly, “What is the best startup for me to work with?”. The role we play in developing corporate-startup relationships and collaborations is subtle, but crucial. After all, the route to a partnership comes with a number of challenges, but starting out with a map reduces a lot of unforeseen complications.

By: Marianna Faynshteyn, FuelUp