[Startup story] Rastel.io | Rubik Garage Accelerator 2022 Batch
August 24, 2022
First of all, we would like to know who’s behind the keyboard.
Hi, Horea Toniuc, one of the four co-founders of Rastel.io. My background is in aerospace engineering and my role in Rastel.io is to develop the mechanical side of the product and also to look for partnerships and opportunities.
Tell us more about Rastel.io. What problem do you solve? Who’s your audience?
Currently, there are not enough secured and easily accessible bike parking spaces. Rastel.io is solving this problem by creating a completely digitalised bike parking network that allows cyclists to find, park, lock and monitor their bikes through a mobile app.
As cyclists, we have faced this problem and got frustrated by it. We also saw it as an opportunity to use our engineering background to develop a better and friendlier solution to this problem than what is already available. We aim to create a better experience for cyclists and encourage everyone to get a bike and start riding instead of driving, without worrying about bike security.
What motivated you to create this startup? What’s your „why”?
We were facing this problem in our daily lives. Looking for alternatives, we couldn’t find any suitable one. All the options available were either unsecure or impractical. For us, the solution seemed obvious. We saw it as an opportunity and decided to take action and do it ourselves.
How is your startup different from competitors?
We are community focussed. We are not just trying to provide secure bike parking at a certain location, we are trying to create a network of secure bike parking that has the rider in the center. Everything we do and all the decisions we make is to improve cyclists’ experience and help them seamlessly and securely navigate through the city.
Do you have a team supporting you in your mission?
We are a team of four co-founders with background in engineering, passionate about solving problems in sustainable ways.
Three of us (Tudor, Robi and Sasha) have background in Software Engineering and I (Horea) have background in Aerospace Engineering. Over the past few years, Tudor made a (partial) switch to Electrical Engineering, Robi and Sasha gained a lot of experience in software and I have worked in mechanical design and also spent a short time in software.
Aside from this, we all believe that the best way of solving problems at scale is through creating healthy and sustainable businesses that bring value to all the parties involved.
What are the biggest rewards of being a startup founder?
The top spot for me is shared between:
- Meeting so many interesting and passionate people and learning from each and every one of them.
- The fact that we can define our priorities, set up the tasks and take full responsibility and accountability for the outcomes.
On the contrary, what are the biggest challenges?
Working in many areas (product, marketing, sales, financials) and having a lot of stakeholders involved (team, partners, suppliers, customers, mentors, etc) requires switching context quite often.
What made you apply to our accelerator Rubik Garage?
We decided to apply for the amazing mentors’ community (both in terms of size and quality) and the chance to learn from them. It almost sounded too good to be true but I’m more than glad we applied.
What are your top 3 learnings of the acceleration program?
- Valuable mentoring on the sales process and pricing
- Insight into the investment world, how it’s structured, what investors look for in start-ups, timelines for getting an investment and valuable tips from VCs and Angels
- The importance of getting honest (although uncomfortable) feedback from your customers
What do you like in the Rubikorns Startup Community?
Everybody is willing to listen and help. We got to know experts in a wide range of start-up related topics, who we can get in touch with and discuss specific problems.
What are your plans for Rastel.io for the next 6-12 months?
We plan to create a network of secure parking in one city, to test the full-scale benefits of our product. In order to do this, we will have to get an investment or a grant to cover the cost of 20-30 secure parking units.
What message do you have for other startup founders?
There are certainly resources available in the ecosystem to help you start and scale, so don’t be afraid to look and ask for help. People are more open and willing to help than you might expect.
What is your special power?
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
We’re still learning. We don’t have everything figured out and we honestly appreciate all your help and feedback. The start-up ecosystem needs not only founders and facilitators but also enthusiasts willing to take a chance on them. We are in this together!
Stay tuned to discover the story behind the other startups from the Rubik Garage accelerator! #WeAreInThisTogether
Rubik Garage is an equity-free acceleration program aiming to support startups from CEE. We are helping early-stage startups get to their first paying customer, raise investment or go international.
The accelerator started with a Founders Bootcamp in Piatra Neamt. Four months of acceleration will culminate with a Demo Day in September, where startups get the chance to pitch their startup in front of investors. For the most motivated teams, the journey will continue in the next 6-12 months – our team will offer their full support to help them raise an investment round.
If you want to pre-apply for the next Rubik Garage edition, complete this form and be the first one to get the chance of starting their acceleration journey!