Startup accelerators and VC funds from Europe and USA join forces to launch an equity-free accelerator for CEE and SEE startups – Rubik Garage

Rubik Hub, the Romanian startup hub, together with two VC funds ROCA X and SeedBlink from Romania, and accelerator Global Kinetics from Silicon Valley and Startup Wise Guys from Estonia launched a startup accelerator. Rubik Garage is an equity-free acceleration program aiming to support startups from CEE or SEE raise their first investment round. The program is focusing on startups with an innovative product or business model that have a minimum viable product and/or an experienced team.

Rubik Garage is free of charge and is organised by Rubik Hub and the North-East Regional Development Agency. Its main focus is startups from the verticals of MedTech, EdTech, Climate, Tourism, Social Impact, Fintech, Smart Cities, Automation, using technologies such as Saas, IoT, AI, VR, AR, XR, Big Data, and blockchain. Yet, should you have an innovative startup that promises to change life as we know it and make a dent in the Universe, then apply here! Applications are open until May 1st, 2022.

About Rubik Garage, the accelerator for CEE and SEE startups:

The Rubik Garage accelerator is right for you if you are a founder of an early-stage startup, with a tech component and a minimum viable product or an experienced team. If your startup is innovative and can scale fast, and you want to reach your first paying customer or raise an investment round or expand into the Romanian market, then apply now.

Rubik Garage seeks startups in the following verticals: MedTech, EdTech, Climate, Tourism, Social Impact, Fintech, Smart Cities, Automation, using technologies such as Saas, IoT, AI, VR, AR, XR, Big data, and blockchain. However, if you are focused on other areas and feel your startup can make a dent in the universe, this might be the right place for you.

Applications are open until May 1st, 2022, end of the day.

The selection process:

The selected startups will be announced on the 6th of May. The selection jury is comprised of experts from Rubik Hub and its strategic partners: the Romanian VC funds ROCA X and SeedBlink, and the accelerators Global Kinetics from Silicon Valley, USA, and Startup Wise Guys from Estonia.

We aim to build the right context for smart startup founders to grow in our region with access to the best mentors and experts worldwide. Together with our 4 strategic partners and with a dynamic community, we aim to build their confidence, network and knowledge base in order to scale internationally.

We know why most early-stage startups fail and we wish to prevent that from happening by supporting them to find solutions that would maximize their chances for success. There is no one-size-fits-all magical recipe, but there are key indicators that, when analyzed correctly, can simplify the startup journey. I believe a business can make a difference only if it solves a real problem, and if the team is rightly equipped to do so. Access to finance and resources becomes easy when the founders have the right mindset, when they are eager to learn and grow and when they act with passion, following an intrinsic motivation. This is what & who we are looking for in Rubik Garage” said Valentin Iulian Țoc, Accelerator Manager at Rubik Garage.

Rubik Garage 2022 – the program:

Rubik Garage is a hybrid acceleration program, in English. The program will begin on 18th of May and it comprises 3 phases:

1. The Accelerator Phase – May 18 – End of August. During 2 intensive months, startup founders take part in over 60 hours of practical workshops with experts and 1:1 sessions from mentors and investors – all with the purpose of accelerating the startups in areas that are key for their growth. These are tailored to the founders’ needs and cover a wide range of topics, including developing sustainable business models, sales, pricing and go-to-market strategies.

The acceleration phase starts with a Founders’ Bootcamp and a launch event, on the 18th -20th of May. Here, the founders will meet the mentors, the strategic partners and the wider Rubik Hub community and will attend in-person workshops. This will take place in Rubik Hub, in Piatra Neamt, Romania, in a 1200sq space created exclusively for startup events and co-working, and surrounded by forests and mountains.

2. The Demo Day (September 2022) – The founders will pitch their startups in front of over 100 investors, VC funds, partners and mentors. Over 40% of the 150 mentors in the Rubik Hub community have global startup experience and they will support the founders for their final pitch.

3. Preparation for raising investment & scaling internationally – The founders of the most promising startups will be selected to receive a pack of benefits created to support them raise an investment round or scale into a new market. This consists of free tickets to an international startup conference (i.e. How to Web), a free booth and an immersive trip into an international startup ecosystem.

On top of this, founders will learn strategies and tips & tricks in raising investment straight from investors and experts from the Rubik Hub community. For the following 6-18 months, the investment experts in the Rubik Hub team will support the founders every step of the way, with the operational side, becoming their investment department. Through a series of workshops, match-making sessions with relevant investors, exclusive pitching sessions and tailored feedback sessions, the founders will receive all the help they need to raise an investment round.

The Rubik Hub team offered us a wide range of information and connections relevant to our fund-raising process. During the entire process of raising funds, they supported us not only with insightful feedback for our pitch deck but also with much-needed operational support, by connecting us with investors in their network and beyond.

The fundraising process can be very daunting for founders. I feel the support we received from Rubik Hub made the process easier, both mentally and from an operational standpoint. 

Stefan Iarca, XVision founder, a startup with a total investment of 1,4 million euros.

Rubik Garage offers the following benefits to the selected founders:

Overall, Rubik Garage, the equity-free accelerator for startups in CEE and SEE, offers the selected founders the following benefits:

  • Over 100,000 euros worth of tailored support, grants, prizes, and other perks.
  • Over 60 hours of live, interactive and practical workshops in English.
  • Live sessions with investors and feedback on pitching sessions before Demo Day.
  • Access to a community of over 250 mentors, founders and experts from over 40 startups and 4 unicorns: UiPath, Branch, Front, Deel.
  • Access to a 1200 sq co-working space surrounded by forests and mountains is included in the overall package.
  • Benefits for going international: a week-long immersion in an international startup ecosystem, free tickets to an international startup conference and presentation booth.
  • Access to the collective know-how and network of 50+ investors, accelerators and VC funds in Europe and the USA.
  • All during a free-of-charge intensive accelerator program, that requires the full commitment of the selected founders.

Who will you meet & support you

The founders will take part in interactive and practical workshops tailored to their needs and will receive feedback from key players in the startup ecosystem in Romania, Europe and USA, including Jeff Wallace – president of Global Kinetics, Silicon Valley USA, Kal Deutsch – partner of 2 accelerators: Silicon Valley in Your Pocket and Batchery, from Silicon Valley USA, Alexandru Bogdan – CEO of Romanian VC ROCA X, Andrei Dudoiu – managing partner of Romanian VC SeedBlink, Paul Kallmes – partner Silicon Valley in Your Pocket, from Silicon Valley USA, Razvan Suta – program director StartUp Wise Guys, from Estonia, and many others.

“We are pleased to be part of the Rubik Garage program and look forward to working with participants as they explore and advance key solutions to market entry challenges in CEE & SEE. We will bring our investment expertise and experience to help startups structure and build a solid roadmap for their high-growth journey, helping them multiply their impact and become more resilient.” Andrei Dudoiu, Managing Partner SeedBlink.

“We are delighted to support Rubik Hub in their upcoming program, knowing that they are such an integral and active part of the Romanian early-stage startup ecosystem. We feel that we are driven by the same founder-centric principles and values, fueling us to grow and to impact for the better the local startup ecosystem.” Razvan Suta – program director StartUp Wise Guys.

Rubik Hub creates a complete startup journey for founders, from self-discovery to raising the first seed investment. Its ambitious mission is to develop and connect communities, together with whom they inspire, educate and accelerate startups from 0 to 1 and create global successful businesses. The Accelerator is a part of this journey.

So far, Rubik Hub has supported over 250 startups, including XVision, a MedTech startup that is using AI on MRAs to set diagnostics, which raised over 1,4 million euros investment; Helperz, a platform where one can book trusted and verified babysitters, petsitters, housemaids and private teachers, which raised over 89,000 euros investment; Synaptiq, automated contouring software for radiotherapy.

Join the successful startups that started in a garage! Find out more and apply to Rubik Garage now!

If you have further questions, you can always contact the organisers at [email protected].